We at A Journalist Reveals have taken it up as a mission to create awareness about misconceptions in different aspects of life. The following incident has been the inspiration for this interview with a gynecologist. Some years back a friend’s mother was going through a traumatic menopause and my friend had taken her to a gynecologist. My friend is in her twenties and her mother in her fifties. One uneducated woman from their colony was present with her pregnant daughter there. She thought that my unwed friend had come there to abort her unborn illegal child and began spreading lies about her. When we got to know about it, we were trying to find means to make people aware of conditions other than pregnancy for which a woman can consult a gynecologist. We found Dr. Madhu Ahuja and she kindly replied to our questions taking time off from her busy schedule.
When women consult you, what problems do they complain of?
Since I am a generalist obstetrician and gynecologist, the women I get to see are pregnant women, women with menstrual problems, discharge, irregular periods, PCOD, fertility issues, incontinence, urinary tract infections, difficulties with sex and menopausal women with symptoms of bleeding and discharge.
Do girls and older women also consult you?
Times have changed. Young girls do feel confident to take advice from a gynecologist directly without bringing their Mum along. There would be more such young girls, if finance were not an issue as asking money from parents for gynecologist consults is likely to lead to snoopy behavior. Older women see us all the time. Women who are financially dependent on children generally delay checkups and it is usually a concerned daughter who will bring them to the doctor.
How would you rate the awareness among girls and women about gynecological diseases and hygiene during menstruation and pregnancy?
Awareness is good. Menstrual hygiene products like tampons and menstrual cups are not popular although for our climate they are user-friendly. The market for the latter products can be increased by communication over social media and endorsements by gynecologists.
Who all actually should consult you?
All women with queries about menses, discharge, contraception and sex can consult me. It is best to have a no-nonsense talk with an open-minded gynecologist rather than with any of your friends if you have an issue.
How do you think this awareness can be increased? Do you think awareness will be better in the coming years?
Yes, definitely. With increased education, all taboos should be addressed in a free space so to speak. It is essential to break the stereotypes.
How much does awareness play a role in the progression and treatment of a gynecological disease?
Awareness has a huge role. Cervical cancer vaccination has taken off due to awareness. Mothers bring in girls without hesitation for issues daughters are concerned about. Only the elderly generation is not attuned to seeking opinion earlier. Awareness about hospital deliveries has reduced maternal mortality and complications related to delayed treatments.
Would you like to share anything else other than said above about the society and gynecological diseases?
Screening for cervical, breast and other cancers needs to be taken up more. More women need to come in for counseling regarding contraception. Pre-pregnancy counseling should be mandatory to optimize health before facing physically and emotionally-challenging time such as pregnancy. Exercise and weight control are essential features of good health and must be followed to ensure a healthy pregnancy. Awareness of this aspect needs to increase.