Unveiling Hormone Havoc: A Guide to Women's Health
By Ali Jafri
Feb 14, 2024
Infertility, obesity, and a myriad of other health issues are common in Pakistan. Hormonal imbalance is the leading cause behind most of these health concerns. Due to ignorance and an awareness gap, symptoms of hormonal problems are unknown to most women. This leads to treatment delays and deteriorating health conditions with each passing day.
These problems also leave negative implications on familial and social relationships. A woman who is already experiencing health issues has to deal with social stigmatization as well.
There is much more to it. Let's dive deep into the topic and learn how hormonal imbalance affects a woman's health:
Hormonal Imbalance in Women and Its Terrible Ramifications
Whether we talk about a woman's physical or emotional well-being, hormones play a significant role. Disruption in hormonal balance results in multiple health challenges. Some of them include:
Menstruating after every cycle is a sign of good health. Unfortunately, most women are unaware of its importance. Especially in rural areas, where the literacy rate is low, women are clueless about the implications of irregular menstruation. Missing their regular menstruation, getting it too early or too late, doesn't make them concerned.
Commonly, menstrual irregularities signal an underlying health issue. Some common issues are:
Miscarriage, which is a spontaneous loss of pregnancy, has a significant impact on the psychological health of a mother. In some cases, miscarriage occurs in the early months because of being unaware of pregnancy. When the regular menstrual cycle stops, women do not bother to take an immediate step and consult a gynecologist.
Furthermore, miscarriage also occurs due to hormonal imbalance. During pregnancy, a certified gynecologist monitors the hormones responsible for a healthy pregnancy. Unfortunately, consulting a doctor during pregnancy is not a tradition in the rural areas of Pakistan.
Irregular menstruation also indicates an excess of prolactin hormone, which can be a symptom of a pituitary tumor. The success rate of its treatment increases with an early diagnosis. However, it is only possible when a woman consults a doctor soon after noticing the symptoms.
It is a critical matter in Pakistan, where females with infertility are considered inferior. Regrettably, infertility poses immense pressure on women, whether they belong to a rural or an urban dwelling. Although successful treatment is possible, most families are either hesitant or skeptical.
Apart from this, ignorance of initial hormonal imbalance symptoms are the biggest cause of infertility. Health issues aggravate and result in adversely affecting the reproductive process.
One of these common health issues is PCOS:
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome
It is a condition in which a hormone called androgens are excessively produced. This hormone disturbs the reproductive hormones and causes infertility. Women with PCOS are at a higher risk of getting diabetes and high blood pressure. They also face psychiatric issues when conceiving becomes difficult.
Apart from infertility, many other symptoms of PCOS are present. Excessive facial hair growth, irregular periods, obesity, skin darkening, and cysts are a few of them.
PCOS can worsen due to lack of physical activity, obesity, and certain lifestyle conditions. Not just in rural areas, women in urban centers also face trouble due to PCOS.
Today, many women in Pakistan are battling PCOS. The inability to conceive results in spoiling their spousal relationships, besides affecting their mental health. Threats of a second marriage and pressure from in-laws have put many lives in a vulnerable condition.
Pakistan is amongst those countries where obesity is growing as an epidemic. Although the medical condition is preventable, it affects a large portion of the entire population.
Lack of Understanding
Commonly, obesity is linked with poor dietary choices and a sedentary lifestyle, which is not incorrect. Hormonal imbalance, about which many women are unaware, also contributes to obesity.
Without knowing the root cause behind obesity, women start exercising and modifying their routine diet. After this, they observe mild transformation, which is temporary. It only lasts until they follow the diet plan and continue exercising.
If hormonal imbalance is the reason for obesity, seeking medical advice should be the first step. Excess of some hormones increases appetite and disrupts fat distribution. Medical treatment, along with lifestyle changes, is the right solution to address obesity. Unfortunately, most women in Pakistan are unaware of it.
Health Impact and Societal Pressure
Obesity gives birth to multiple health issues like hypertension, cardiac problems, stroke, etc. If not addressed at the right time, it badly affects overall health, besides hurting self-esteem. Additionally, cultural and social expectations also result in intense pressure and even rejection of marriage proposals.
Surging Hormonal Issues – An Impact of Awareness Gap
To successfully treat hormone issues in women, there is a dire need to understand the cause. Some common causes are:
● Contraceptive pills
● Premature Menopause
● Excessive stress
● Eating disorders
However, some causes of hormonal issues in women are temporary. Pregnancy and breastfeeding are a few of them. Hormonal imbalance automatically subsides after the birth of a child and once the weaning process comes to an end. However, changes in hormones during this period may bring certain complications. Therefore, consulting a medical expert and getting treatment is important, no matter the cause.
Not every woman in Pakistan can afford medical advice due to financial constraints. Poverty is one of the reasons for considering birth control pills. Likewise, stress due to weak family bonding and social pressure is common. Apart from this, poor health conditions give rise to premature menopause and intake of medications.
To address the growing issue of hormonal imbalance, undertaking initiatives for education and awareness are important. In most cases, women fail to link their symptoms to hormonal changes due to their lack of knowledge and awareness.
By arranging awareness campaigns and educating women in Pakistan, women can be motivated to pursue medical advice.
The availability of medical health facilities is another important consideration. Especially on the rural side, free medical health services can motivate a woman to consult an endocrinologist.
Shine Humanity has been actively working to address medical health problems in rural Pakistan. Help us create a difference. Your contribution can help in bringing a positive change.