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A healthy second innings

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

The midlife crisis is a reality and women would do well to get regular check-ups to identify new medical conditions, advises Dr Veena Aurangabadwala

The midlife crisis is not a myth but a reality. For women, in addition to kids growing up and becoming independent, it is finally a time when the woman can focus on her ambitions and career, while balancing her family responsibilities.

This is also the time that 30-40 % women develop benign conditions such as fibroids in the uterus / breasts, cysts in the breasts causing some or no symptoms. They also have menstrual irregularities, sometimes stress or sometimes hormonal change induced. This is the time to take additional contraceptive precautions.

Menstrual abnormalities such as heavy menstrual bleeding leading to anaemia may indicate the extremes of hormonal changes that happen before and after menopause, known as the Climacteric. This phase of climacteric can last as long as five years prior and up to two years following menopause. Women do experience extremes of mood swings, hot flashes, phases of depression, loosening of abdominal skin, bloating, vaginal and at times urinary symptoms too.  But they may also be a sign of the most dreaded precancerous or cancerous changes in the reproductive organs. It is important to seek medical attention of a specialist, to rule out possible cancerous changes and treat these conditions by medications, or surgically (if required).

In the light of increasing sporadic (not inherited) incidence of breast cancers, and the less aggressive cervical cancer, all women above the age of 40 years, must get their Pap smears and mammography done at regular intervals of one to three years, based on familial risk factors.  All women must know the technique of Self Breast Examination (SBE).  A health check-up once in a year or two (including these screening tests) will help us women stay fit and help identify any new medical conditions requiring attention.

A healthy midlife can make a richer and healthier second innings.

Dr Veena Aurangabadwala is a Gynaecologist at Zen Multispeciality Hospital, Chembur.

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