Top 5 Misconceptions About Women's Health: Busted!

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There are so many rumours floating around that make many women anxious about issues relating to their health. This scoop aims to bust some of the most popular myths there are.

Myth 1: Bras causes breast cancer

The Truth: Wearing a bra most certainly does not cause cancer. If you wish to reduce your chances of getting breast cancer, you must aim to eat a healthy diet, stay within a healthy weight range and avoid alcohol. Alcohol increases your chances of developing breast cancer. Getting a mammogram regularly (once every year) after you turn 45 is a proven way to detect breast cancer early and stop the spread.

Myth 2: Excruciating Period pain is normal

The Truth: Although mild discomfort is normal, the pain should not be debilitating. If the pain is intolerable, do consider calling your OBGYN to make an appointment to check if the pain has underlying causes like endometriosis or fibroids.

Myth 3: Cranberry juice cures UTIs

The Truth: While cranberry juice might taste delicious, (we’re sorry to burst your bubble) but they don't actually cure UTIs (i.e, any bacterial infection that causes burning urination and pelvis pain) If you do happen to get UTIs often, consider making an appointment with a gynaecologist who can prescribe antibiotics and suggest treatments to reduce your chances of getting them.

Myth 4: Your water has to break in order to be in active labor. 

The truth: All these movies have made us think of going into labour as a supremely dramatic event. In reality, about 10% of women have their membranes rupture before labor begins. It is (clearly) not a great indicator of whether you are in labor or not, so pregnant women should focus on the frequency of contractions instead. 

Myth 5:  You have to take a birth control pill at the same time every day.

The Truth: Your health provider/gynecologist probably tells you this so that you REMEMBER to take your pill. It is suggested solely for the purpose of preventing the event of missing your pill. But there's no real evidence to prove that this is medically necessary. 

This was one piece in our myth-busting series, stay tuned for a lot more!



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What Is Herd Immunity? Everything You Need To Know

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Picture a herd or community of healthy people. An infectious virus or disease would pass easily through the community from person to person. Vaccines train our immune system to protect us from diseases it hasn’t come in contact with before. For example, the MMR vaccine provides immunity against measles, mumps, and rubella. During an outbreak of a disease, vaccinated people will remain healthy. As they won't become infected, they won't pass on the disease. Hence, if most of the community is vaccinated, it makes it difficult for the disease to actually spread to the rest of the community. This is the basis of herd immunity. 

If most people in the community are not vaccinated, herd immunity can break down, allowing the disease to spread more easily.

Herd immunity becomes especially important for the individuals in a herd who can't be vaccinated. These could be people who are either too old, too young or have weaker immune systems

Herd Immunity without Vaccination: Another way the building of herd immunity could happen is if many people contract the disease and in time build up an immune response to it (natural immunity). In this case, the herd would have to be fit enough to contract the disease, survive it and then become immune towards it. 

 It is important to note that in order for herd immunity to take action, the disease/virus must be categorized as a Contagious one. (capable of spreading)

COVID-19 and Herd Immunity In India

Renowned Immunologist and Cell Biologist Dipyaman Ganguly has said that one of the only hopes in defeating the novel coronavirus is by developing ‘herd immunity,’ 

In an interview with news9, he said, “This coronavirus is not going anywhere. Viruses don’t go anywhere. They may become weak but its strand remains. The virus will keep infecting people until a large population develops immunity against it.”

He has also stated that immunity could only be achieved through a vaccine or by getting infected by the virus. “Since developing a vaccine for COVID-19 is not an easy task and it is unlikely that we will get one soon, the only hope that remains is that of herd immunity and it is bound to happen.”

Explaining the idea of herd immunity further, he said, “The virus is going to infect a large number of populations in India. When a large number of people get infected, their bodies will develop natural immunity. They will stop the virus from spreading further by breaking the chain of infections transmitted from one person to another.” “Since I am closely monitoring the situation, I am sure that we are moving towards herd immunity,” he added. 

Studying infection trends in India, he said that most coronavirus cases will be asymptomatic. Patients will recover through natural immunity and vitamin boosting medication suggested by doctors. However, those with existing health conditions could develop severe complications as the virus is shown to aggravate symptoms. 



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The Story Of A Breast Cancer Survivor

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We’ve all heard of or witnessed at least one case of cancer around us. Why do people think of cancer as a battle? Well, because it is. A significant part of surviving cancer is displaying the qualities of bravery - just like on a battlefield. 

The story of this 55-year-old woman says it all. 

Meena Bijlani, a woman, a wife, and a mother of two living in New Delhi had detected a lump in her breast on July 1st, 2013. The very same day, after consulting with her partner, she rushed to the doctor to get it checked.

After the reports came in, she saw her worst fears unfold in front of her. She had a 2.3 cm long cancerous growth in her breast. Now, her instant response to finding out about her illness was very naturally a wave of sorry followed by tears. But she knew she had to immediately start surgery and get rid of the problem because cancer demands immediate action. She had witnessed this first hand as she personally knew of two other women who were diagnosed with breast cancer and had been cured of it too. 

On 19th July, Meena had an operation to remove the cancerous lump followed by 6 chemotherapy sessions. It was not an easy 7-month journey, she admitted. Her husband and sons were more than alert at all times and helped her get past the difficulties of chemo. They would stay at home on weekends to avoid plausible contraction of any other viruses/infections due to Meena’s now low immunity and together, look forward to someday having the same life that they all once did. 

And naturally, 7 months later, Meena was completely cured. In her own words, the secret to success in the battle against cancer - “Go to your doctor as soon as possible. I want to tell any woman who finds a lump to not feel scared but deal with it immediately. This is a curable disease.” 

South-East Asia alone has over 1.7 million new cancer cases every single year. Cancer of the breast and cervix are the most common ones reported among women. Reduce this risk of cancer by leading a healthy lifestyle - avoid smoking and drinking, exercise every day, and eat a healthy balanced diet. 



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