Women’s Day Special: Female Doctors Share Insights on Women’s Health and Well-being

“Let’s Make Women’s Health a Priority: Insights from Leading Female Doctors on Preventive Health Measures”

Women's Day Special: Female Doctors Share How Women Can Ensure Good Health
Women's Day Special: Female Doctors Share How Women Can Ensure Good Health

On March 8th every year, we celebrate International Women’s Day, and this year’s theme focuses on investing in women’s health and well-being. Throughout history, societal expectations have often marginalized women, relegating them to positions of lesser power. Consequently, women, whether as mothers, daughters, siblings, or partners, have often prioritized the needs of others over their own dreams and aspirations.

But times are changing!

It’s crucial to recognize that self-care is just as important as compassion towards others. Being in good health, both physically and mentally, is a fundamental human right that is only fully realized through awareness and access to information. In this special Women’s Day article, we present invaluable health insights from some of the leading female doctors in the country. Let’s delve into their wisdom and empower women to prioritize their health and well-being.

Invest In Preventive Health

Rather than initiating a conversation around symptoms and treatment, let’s start with discussions around preventive health.

Rather than initiating a conversation around symptoms and treatment, let’s start with discussions around preventive health.

She emphasises the importance of investing in preventive health, which includes:

  • Going for regular age-appropriate screenings, including breast exams and pap smears
  • Taking care of both physical and mental health
  • Practising mindfulness to manage stress and seeking professional help if the need be
  • Eating a healthy and nutritious diet coupled with regular exercise
  • Avoiding smoking and limiting alcohol consumption
  • Getting adequate sleep

As a fertility specialist, Dr. Bajaj emphasizes the importance of taking necessary supplements like folic acid before and during pregnancy to help reduce the risk of certain birth defects.

“Additionally,” she advises, “discuss preconception care with your healthcare provider to optimize your health and prepare your body for your bundle of joy. This proactive approach increases the chances of a positive outcome for both you and your baby.”

Reproductive And Sexual Health Measures

Sexual and reproductive ill-health accounts for a significant portion of the global burden of disease, particularly among women of reproductive age and the overall population. According to reports:

– Sexual and reproductive ill-health contributes to one-third of the global burden of disease among women of reproductive age and one-fifth of the burden of disease among the general population.
– HIV/AIDS alone constitutes 6% of the global burden of disease.
– Every day, over ten lakh sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are acquired worldwide, with the majority being asymptomatic, according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
– Severe bleeding, high blood pressure, pregnancy-related infections, complications from unsafe abortion, and underlying conditions exacerbated by pregnancy, such as HIV/AIDS and malaria, are among the leading causes of maternal deaths, as reported by the United Nations Population Fund (UNPF).

These statistics highlight the urgent need for comprehensive sexual and reproductive health education, access to quality healthcare services, and effective prevention and treatment strategies to address these significant health challenges on a global scale.

Dr. Mukti Harne Paithankar, Consultant in Obstetrics and Gynecology, Infertility Specialist, and Laparoscopic Surgeon at Manipal Hospital, Gurugram, underscores the significance of reproductive and sexual health in women, stressing that they are integral aspects of overall well-being.

She recommends the following key pieces of advice:

1. Regular Reproductive Health Screenings: Get regular reproductive health screenings and check-ups to monitor your reproductive health status and detect any potential issues early on.

2. Educate Yourself: Educate yourself about sexual health, consent, and healthy relationships to make informed decisions regarding your sexual and reproductive well-being.

3. Safe Sex Practices: Practice safe sex by using condoms consistently and correctly, especially if you have multiple sexual partners. Get tested regularly for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) to maintain sexual health.

4. Menstrual Cycle Awareness: Pay attention to your menstrual cycle and any changes in menstrual patterns, as they can indicate underlying health issues that may require medical attention.

5. Contraception Options: Explore different contraceptive methods to find one that suits your lifestyle and reproductive goals. Discuss contraceptive options with your healthcare provider to make an informed choice.

6. Prenatal Care: If you are planning a pregnancy, start prenatal care early to ensure a healthy pregnancy and childbirth. Seek guidance from healthcare professionals to optimize your health before conceiving.

7. Menopause Management: As you approach menopause, discuss with your healthcare provider strategies for managing symptoms like hot flashes, mood swings, and vaginal dryness to improve quality of life during this transition.

By following these recommendations, women can prioritize their reproductive and sexual health, leading to improved overall well-being and quality of life.

Breast and Cervical Cancer: The Most Prevalent Cancers Among Women

“Let’s Address the Elephant in the Room: Cancer, one of the Leading Causes of Death Worldwide”

The good news is that between 30% and 50% of cancer deaths can be prevented by modifying or avoiding key risk factors and implementing scientifically-proven prevention strategies, as per the WHO.

In an interaction with the OnlyMyHealth team, Dr. Akila Ravikumar, General Physician and Consultant-Gynaecology at Neuberg Diagnostics, highlights that breast cancer and cervical cancer are among the most common cancers affecting women worldwide.

While breast cancer caused 6.85 lakh deaths globally in 2020, cervical cancer led to 3.5 lakh deaths in 2022. However, there are various ways to reduce their risk.

Breast and Cervical Cancer: The Most Prevalent Cancers Among Women


According to Ravikumar, to reduce the risk of breast cancer, women should engage in regular breast self-examinations, undergo mammography screenings, maintain a healthy weight, limit alcohol consumption, and avoid smoking. Being physically active and consuming a balanced diet rich in fiber and antioxidants can also prove beneficial.

On the other hand, for cervical cancer prevention, women need to undergo routine Pap tests and, when appropriate, receive the HPV vaccine to protect against high-risk strains of the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), which is a major risk factor for cervical cancer.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggest that up to 93% of cervical cancers are preventable.

“My advice to all women is to prioritize their regular physical activity, nutrition, sleep, and stress management. Incorporating these pillars of health into your daily routine can help prevent chronic diseases, boost your immune system, enhance mental well-being, and promote longevity. Additionally, it’s crucial to schedule regular check-ups with a healthcare provider for preventive screenings and promptly address any health concerns,” says Dr. Ravikumar.

How Women Can Protect Their Hearts

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), more women succumb to Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) than all forms of cancer combined. However, only 44% of women recognize the alarming nature of CVD.

CVD also accounts for over one-third of maternal deaths and causes various complications in women experiencing menopause. A study presented at Heart Failure 2023, a scientific congress of the European Society of Cardiology, found that women are more likely to die after a heart attack than men.

Dr. Priti Shankar, a General Physician at Apollo Clinic, Indiranagar, Bengaluru, emphasizes that maintaining heart health is vital for women, particularly after menopause.

“Regular exercise, a balanced diet, stress management, avoiding excessive alcohol intake, and smoking cessation are crucial,” she advises, adding that routine check-ups with healthcare providers can help manage chronic conditions like high blood pressure and cholesterol that contribute to heart problems.

Young women, on the other hand, can take proactive steps to address cardiovascular issues and promote heart health.

“With age on their side, younger women can concentrate on exercises that are more intensive and tailored to improving cardiovascular fitness, such as high-intensity interval training (HIIT), circuit training, or aerobic dance classes,” explains Dr. Suchismitha Rajamanya, Lead Consultant and Head of Department – Internal Medicine at Aster Whitefield Hospital, Bengaluru.

She emphasizes the importance of maintaining a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats while avoiding processed foods and excessive intake of saturated fats and sodium.

Additionally, Dr. Rajamanya suggests stress management techniques like meditation or yoga to mitigate the impact on heart health in both young and older women.

While there are ways to predict the risk of CVD, Dr. Ravikumar advises undergoing regular blood pressure checks to monitor hypertension or other cardiovascular risk factors. She recommends women start having their cholesterol levels checked periodically from the age of 20 to assess cardiovascular health and determine the need for lifestyle modifications or medical interventions.


There are various interconnected aspects to a woman’s health, making it essential to focus on overall well-being and take proactive measures to maintain good health. Along with regular screening tests, adopting a healthy lifestyle is crucial.

Maintain a balanced diet by practicing portion control, limiting the consumption of processed and fatty foods, and incorporating nutrient-rich vegetables and whole grains into your meals. Staying physically active is also important, so aim to engage in regular exercise and avoid unhealthy habits like smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

This Women’s Day, prioritize your health above all else. By taking care of yourself and making healthy choices, you can promote your well-being and lead a fulfilling life.

In honor of Women’s Day, we turn to leading female doctors for expert advice on preventive health measures that every woman should prioritize. These doctors share valuable insights and recommendations to empower women to take control of their health and well-being. Stay tuned to learn more about these essential preventive measures and how they can positively impact women’s health.