Here are questions from readers that were addressed by leading obstetrician and gynaecologist Dr Mini Salunkhe. The identities of the solution-seekers have been withheld to protect their privacy.
I have come across a brand called V-wash which is a liquid soap used to clean the vaginal area. How useful is it? Or can I use normal soap, does it have any special benefits?
The vaginal washes that are available today at your chemist are impregnated with Lactic acid and antibacterial agents. These washes maintain the vaginal PH balance and thus lowering vaginal dryness, irritation and discomfort. They would also be helpful to prevent unpleasant vaginal odour. These benefits may not be achieved with the use of normal bath soaps etc. The vaginal and vulval areas are very sensitive; These washes are specially formulated to protect the woman’s intimate areas from bacteria, itchiness and dryness by creating a protective layer.
Can period pain lead to black-outs? Sometimes my pain gets so bad I feel like I may faint. What should I do?
The pain from menstrual cramps can be mild to severe involving the lower abdomen, back and thighs. This can be accompanied by headaches. nausea, vomiting, dizziness, fainting attacks. Gastro-intestinal disturbances like diarrhoea and constipation as well. Fainting may be also caused by severe, painful cramps. It would be prudent to visit your gynaecologist to rule out other causes of severe pain during your periods like endometriosis, pelvic infections, polyps and ovarian cysts. For normal pain management during menses you can take anti-spasmodic pain killers two to three times a day. Some home remedies like hot fomentation to the lower abdomen would also help.
Whenever I am on my periods or about to get it, I bloat up. Why does this happen and what can I do to prevent it?
During the menstrual cycle, the hormone levels fluctuate, which in turn causes fluid retention, swelling and uncomfortable bloating. The fluid retention can also cause actual weight gain in some women. These symptoms normally subside within 3-4 days of the periods. The best way to prevent extreme bloating is to limit external factors which add to this condition. Reduction in the dietary intake of salt, sugar and caffeine may help as these are normally responsible for additional bloating. Drink lots of water and ensure regular exercise before and during menses. It is advisable for you to avoid oily and greasy food items also. Additionally, the healthy intake of natural sources of vitamins like green leafy vegetables and fruits also help.
I have been diagnosed with PCOD, and for that my doctor has given me contraceptive pills. I would like to know what are the different kinds of contraceptive pills, why are some mild?
Contraceptive pills are helpful in PCOD as they help regulate the menstrual cycle and also treat acne and Hirsutism. Various types of OC pills are available today. The main variants being the oestrogen and progesterone combination pills or only the progesterone type. Combination pills are differentiated according to the doses of oestrogen and progesterone in the medication. Also the type of progesterone may vary in different pills. Your gynaecologist will suggest the ideal type of OC pill for you.
Thank you, readers for your queries. I hope I have been able to answer them and clarify your doubts. I would be more than happy to take time off to answer all your questions week after week. You can reach me via firstname.lastname@example.org
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