DISEASES AFFECTING WOMEN IN INDIA AND HOW TO TACKLE THEM
Women in India are exposed to a plethora of diseases. It’s time we talk about women’s health issues in order to effectively deal with them.
Historical gender norms have taught women to suffer in silence. Even after the world’s progression, there are many rural areas in India where women don’t voice their concerns.
Women’s health in India, especially in rural areas, is at a risk of developing many gender specific diseases. Due to the lack of education, awareness, female healthcare facilities, as well as factors like, domestic and sexual violence, malnutrition, and poverty; women fall prey to a manifold of health issues in India.
Spreading awareness and starting conversations about these diseases is of utmost priority if they need to be successfully tackled. There are several concerns that affect the health of women in India at a great frequency. Let’s start talking.
Women in India are victims to menstrual health related problems at an alarming rate. Almost 50% of Indian women suffer from an irregular period cycle. India, especially the rural parts of it, has considered menstruation a taboo and a topic to be hushed down since centuries. There’s a huge lack of access to feminine hygiene products, and social stereotypes about menstruation - menstruating women are impure, they shouldn’t be allowed to enter the kitchen, and period symptoms should be dismissed. As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS-4) 2015-16, only 36% of women use sanitary napkins . NFHS 5 shows that about 50 per cent of women aged 15-24 years still use clothing for menstrual protection.
Not having access to proper menstrual hygiene and women healthcare products is further resulting in a wide range of diseases among women.
Problems like UTIs, PCOS, PCOD, reproductive challenges, and even cervical cancer are a result of improper menstrual care.
Research suggests that breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in Indian women. It is one of the major causes of death among them with women in India having a 60% chance of survival, in comparison to American women, who stand at an 80% survival rate.
In urban India, factors such as sedentary lifestyle, obesity, late to minimal breastfeeding, substance abuse, and many such factors lead to the development of breast cancer. However, in rural India, lack of awareness, poor nutritional intake, inaccessibility to medical and healthcare facilities, and filthy living conditions often lead to development of breast cancer.
Among Asian countries, India has the highest number of cervical cancer cases. It is the second most common cancer among women in India. It is caused due to HPV. Several other factors contribute to its cause, such as having sexual intercourse very early on in life, poor sexual hygiene, bearing children at a very young age, having minimal gap between pregnancies, having multiple sexual partners or your partner having multiple sexual partners, and unsafe sex.
Women, especially in rural areas, suffer greatly from infections spread through sex. Due to the prevalence of unhygienic conditions, lack of sex education and sexual knowledge, marital rape, sexual harassment, early pregnancy, and no access to gynaecologists, STIs are common amongst the rural women of India.
The fight is on!
How do we fight against these diseases? What can be the preventive measures? What is a realistic approach to tackle them at an individual level?
Start the conversation. Spreading awareness about these issues is the stepping stone to tackle these diseases. Strike a conversation about these issues to educate people around you, especially the ones who are suffering from them.
Brush up the basics. Encourage the ones around you, and practise the basics yourself. These “basics” include maintaining personal hygiene, using the right birth control, maintaining a healthy diet and exercise routine, regular medical checkups, self breast-examination, medical care for women, and prioritising your health.
Take guidance. Whether it is clinical therapy or counselling, talk to an expert to get direction in case you encounter a disease or even if you want to have a discussion. These days, there are a lot of affordable and free therapy options to choose from. Being aware about your own mental and emotional health has a huge role to play in your physical health and the lens through which you view it.
Ladies, it’s time you start taking care of your and your fellow sisters’ health. Let Kenko Health Family Plan take care of your and your family’s well being!