Dr Ritu Sethi, Senior Consultant- Gynaecology, Cloud Nine Hospital, Sector 14 Gurgaon and Apex Clinic, Sector 31, Gurgaon
These days, women are facing the brunt of the ravaging corona epidemic.Be it the home front or the workplace,women are battling all odds to create a balance in professional and personal lives.But ,long work hours along with increasing demands of family due to decrease in social interactions,has led to women compromising on their health not realizing the long term impact.
In this grim scenario,I would like to briefly emphasize on the need for women, especially those above 40 years of age to continue with routine check ups with their gynecologist to detect any sinister diseases they may be harbouring before the situation gets out of hand.
So what are the routine investigations that women above 40 should be undergoing regularly?
The most important of this is the yearly mammography which is a specialized X ray of the breast carried out to detect small lumps or nodules which might not even be detected by regular self -examination.The mammogram is a simple test, cheap and carried out at most diagnostic centres and should be performed annually in all women above the age of 40 years.
A routine pelvic examination again is a must for all women and this along with a Pap smear should be performed routinely.The pelvic examination along with ultrasound, will detect some cancers of the female genital tract like ovarian cancers which are silent killers are usually are detected after the disease has spread extensively.
A Pap smear is another test recommended for all women as it can detect cervical cancer in the precancerous stages itself.Again it is a cheap,easy to perform and simple tests carried out by the gynaecologist.
It is important here to note that most female cancers like breast, ovarian and cervical cancer are usually detected at late stages and if a women is undergoing routine check ups with her gynaecologist , these cancers can be detected at an early stage when they are fully curable.
Not only this, women start losing their bone density extensively after 40 ,thus routine bone densitometry is recommended for all women after 40 years .
Besides this ,routine tests like blood sugar, lipid profile and thyroid investigations are also recommended for all women to screen for onset of lifestyle disorders like hypertension and type 2 diabetes which if not treated in time, can lead to stroke and myocardial infarctions later on in life.
If lifestyle and dietary modifications are done well in time, many of these lifestyle disorders can be treated early thus preventing the long term health complications arising from these diseases.
Thus ,it is imperative for women to realise the importance of consulting their gynecologist regularly and carrying out relevant investigations above the age of 40 years.