With Mother’s day around the corner we want to put our focus on women’s health. Women and men have many health issues in common, but each group has its own specific concerns that evolve throughout life which is especially true for the female part of the population since women’s body is an ever changing organism and often a big mystery for the male in our society.
Embracing your period
They say that a girl becomes a woman when she gets her first period, also known as Menarche. It’s experienced at different ages based on genetic and environmental factors. For many women their period is that dreaded time of the month coming along with cramps, bloating and mood swings.
In the ancient cultures the menstruation time was an opportunity for women to stay away from everyday hustle and rest. It’s not that easy today, you can’t just go hiding in the Red tent, but what you can do is to be more gentle to yourself, put hot water bottle on your lower abdomen when you have cramps, have a cup of relaxing tea or bowl of a warm soup and just spend some time alone. If your symptoms are persistent though and the pain is overpowering go visit your family doctor who may refer you to a gynecologist.
The miracle of conception
The times when young women were getting married and had children right after they finished high school are long gone (at least in the western society). The infinite career, travel and education possibilities our time offers make young people put marriage and starting a family to the back burner. In Canada (2011) the average age of a woman having her first child was 30.2 years. Age is probably the most critical factor influencing woman’s ability to conceive. Starting at about age 32, a woman’s chances of conceiving decrease gradually and significantly. There are other causes of infertility such as tubal factor, previous abortion, overweight or underweight or hormonal imbalance. If you’ve been trying to conceive for a while with no success it may be a good idea to see a specialist who will assess both you and your partner.
Birth of a mother
When a child is born everybody is excited about new addition to the family and the gift of new life, which for sure is a beautiful and special thing to celebrate. But people, including the moms, tend to forget that together with the baby there is also a new mother born.
After 9 months of carrying the baby in her womb and giving him everything he needs to grow to become a healthy little human-being and bringing him to this world through painful and sometimes even life threatening delivery the mother is facing more challenges now. Breastfeeding and pumping or bottle-feeding and choosing the right formula, cloth or disposable diapers, hardly any sleep (is the baby still breathing?), fatigue, postpartum depression, you name it. While still expected to be a good wife, friend, daughter, sister or mother to an older child.
For some women this all happens smoothly and almost effortlessly, others may experience mental or physical health issues. There should be that little voice in every new mother’s ear saying “Take care of yourself too. You matter. You can’t help your child if you are not feeling well yourself”. And the same voice should speak to fathers, friends and family to help, support, cook a meal, watch the baby for couple of hours or just be there and listen to lament of the new mother.
With age comes wisdom… and menopause
Menopause is defined as the absence of menstrual periods for 12 months. It does not happen overnight, it is a process during which the function of ovaries discontinues and woman cannot become pregnant anymore. Symptoms may consist of hot flashes, mood swings or vaginal issues. It usually comes after age of 50 and the symptoms may occur even years before and after the last bleeding.
Again, every woman experiences menopause differently; it’s an ordeal for some and dignified transition to the age of wisdom and creativity for others. And one good news, menopause does not mean the end of your sex life, actually it can be the other way around as recent studies show.
Staying sane and healthy through it all
Yes, it is not always easy to be a woman. Female body itself brings constant challenges due to its nature that is always on the move, the hormones levels change pretty much every day, it almost seems like it has life on its own. Add stress of every day life with juggling work, family, exercise, hobbies and whatever life brings, and it can get overwhelming once in a while. And if you don’t have enough rest, your nutrition is lacking essential ingredients and instead of taking a walk outside you spend that extra hour in the office, you might find yourself tired, frustrated or even sick.
Being a woman is beautiful.
Being happy and healthy woman takes effort and commitment to yourself.
At PrimeCare Health, we believe that most threats to women’s health can be prevented. Some of our female family doctors in Calgary have a special interest in the area of women’s health and offer consultations to help women achieve physical and emotional wellbeing during all stages of life. We are here to help.