Wednesday, Jun 29, 2022
Outlook.com

Revitalising Women’s Health

Is the health of India’s women a cause for concern – individual, collective or social? What are the common social factors that compromise a woman’s physical health or negatively impact a woman’s mental wellbeing? What can we do about this? Outlook talks to Dr Poonam Datta, Obstetrician and Gynecologist, these issues critical to women’s health.

Dr Poonam Datta

 There is no such thing as a non-working woman. What are your thoughts on this statement?

You are absolutely right; there is no such thing as a non-working woman. Homemakers or entrepreneurs or salaried professionals, women are busy all the time, multitasking. A homemaker is considered a non-working woman, but she looks after the needs of the family including her children, husband and in-laws. She not only provides comfort and safe environment at home, she enables the breadwinners to work and the children to educate themselves for a future productive life.

Women bear a disproportionate amount of the load of domestic work and not just the physical part. What is the impact of this uneven mental burden on women’s health?

Homemakers or those pursuing a career outside the home, women have to bear a greater load of domestic work as well as the responsibility of organising and keeping the household running. This takes a toll on their physical and mental well-being. They are stressed out and emotionally drained. They are quite literally bone-tired. And especially during the lockdown, women have suffered greatly. 

How do women take care of their  health better? Are supplements a necessity?

Women in India generally don’t prioritize their health and nutrition. I therefore recommend them to opt for a holistic health supplement which take care of their daily nutritional need . Revital H Woman is a very good option which provides holistic nutrition.

With mandatory multitasking and juggling of roles and often inadequate support structure, what is the toll on women’s mental health?

Like I said, physically they are usually bone-deep tired from juggling so many roles - caregiving of elders and children, cooking, looking after household chores. This is irrespective of whether they are working professionally or not. This leaves little time for herself. She needs the time to exercise, to relax, to engage in her own interests – all of which are essential to manage and alleviate her stress. Most women end up looking after the needs of everyone else at the cost of  their own physical and mental health.

Women’s dietary patterns and preferences take a hit post-marriage, irrespective of whether they are living with their in-laws or not. What can women do to not compromise their nutritional needs?

After marriage, a woman’s responsibility increases considerably. Her dietary pattern and preference take a backseat and she is expected to adjust. But, in order to take care of these very needs, every woman needs to prioritize her own health. She must mindfully look after her own nutritional needs. And as a society, we must remember that preferences often go hand-in-hand with needs. So, not just needs, but women’s preferences must not be ignored or neglected in any household. whether that is her parents, her in-laws or herself. As a society and as families, we must acknowledge the importance of women’s health and must teach every girl to take care of herself.

Anaemia is often seen almost as a badge of honour for the Indian woman. It is not treated with enough seriousness. Does anaemia pose a serious health risk or is it a negligible condition?

Anaemia poses a serious health risk. Often, women do not even realise that they are anaemic. The most important reason is under-nutrition, lack of intake of vital supplements, excessive bleeding during menstruation or simply self-neglect. While nutritional anaemia is very common in developing countries such as India, it is not insignificant. It causes significant maternal mortality and morbidity, and iron deficiency anaemia is the most common. Mild anaemia often goes undetected as it is usually asymptomatic, but moderate anaemia leads to weakness, fatigue, lassitude, exhaustion, loss of appetite, indigestion, giddiness and breathlessness. If corrective measures are not taken on time this may lead to severe anaemia with its consequences of palpitation, tachycardia (increased pulse rate), breathlesness and generalized oedema and may result in congestive heart failure.

Women’s specific nutritional needs are often seen as unnecessary. Can nutraceuticals and supplements help women to keep themselves healthy physically and mentally?

First of all, a balanced diet is important. But often, our dietary habits are by themselves flawed in several ways. Often, in even the most wealthy household, micronutrient deficiency is noticed in family members. Women, because of their specific biology as well as social causes, tend to be micronutrient-deficient. In this situation, holistic  health supplements can help take care of their daily nutritional needs. Supplements and nutraceuticals can go a long way in keeping women fit physically and mentally, and help them fight their everyday battles.

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