Covid-19 Anxiety Natural But Don’t Let it Postpone Your Important Gynae Surgeries

The Covid-19 pandemic has had unprecedented effects on all aspects of our daily lives and has literally brought the world to a standstill. The central government had enabled the delivery of only essential health services during the lockdown and deferred those that could be provided later. Among such procedures were non-essential elective surgeries. This was done to lessen the burden on healthcare workers who were already occupied with a plethora of activities related to controlling the pandemic. In fact people were sceptical of going ahead with elective surgeries due to lockdown and the fear of infection.

While women tend to take pregnancy related issues seriously and visit their doctor regularly, there are many who ignore their gynaecology related problems. This can actually take a toll on both physical as well as mental health and disrupt normal life. Here is a list of important gynae surgeries that should not be ignored.

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This is the most common hormonal issues which women face. In this condition, body produces excessive testosterone via the ovaries, leads to obesity and causes infertility as well. Though the symptoms can be managed through a balanced diet, Yoga or any form of exercises, it is important to keep the condition under check through regular medications and doctor consultations.

Endometriosis: Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder in which women suffer with extreme pain, especially during their periods. Although pelvic pain is a common symptom associated with menstrual periods, women suffering with endometriosis, experience a pain, which is far worse than usual. Symptoms of this disorder include painful cramping, lower back and abdominal pain, excessive bleeding, pain with bowel movement and urination during periods, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation etc. Endometriosis often leads to infertility. It is seen that almost a third of the women suffering with this disorder have difficulty in conceiving. Endometriosis can be treated both surgically and non-surgically depending on the severity and symptoms. Doctors usually try to treat it without surgery first, but in critical cases, surgery is necessary.

Recurrent UTI: Infections of the urinary tract can be cured, but in some cases, they keep recurring despite getting proper treatment or sometimes the infections do not even respond to the treatment. The symptoms may include frequent urination, burning sensation while urinating, dark/ bloody urine, pain in the bladder region, to name a few. Minor UTI can be easily treated with medications but when it spreads to organs like the kidneys, the case could escalate, and hospitalisation may be required. At times it does require surgical intervention that is minimally invasive in nature.

Ovarian Cysts: Ovarian cysts are usually harmless. These cysts are filled with fluid found on the surface of a woman’s ovaries. They can cause severe pain in the pelvic region and may also rupture, causing internal bleeding. Ovarian Cysts that are small and non-cancerous resolve on their own after some time, but cysts that are large/abnormal, cysts associated with endometriosis; dermoid cysts need to be removed surgically.

Fibroids: This is one of the most common non-cancerous tumour in a female’s uterus. The common symptoms can be heavy bleeding during periods, painful sexual intercourse, pain in the abdominal or pelvic area, abdominal bleeding as well as recurrent miscarriage. If left untreated, fibroids can affect a person’s life badly. Fibroids also reduce the chances of conceiving and may lead to infertility. Fibroids can be treated both non-surgically and surgically depending upon the seriousness of the condition.

Vaginal white discharge: White discharge sometimes occurs at the start or the end of the menstrual cycle. This is quite a normal thing to occur, but if the white fluid that is discharged is thick with cheese like consistency and is accompanied by itching, it needs to be checked out by a doctor, as it can be a sign of a yeast infection. Sometimes the discharge is brown, bloody, yellow or any abnormal colour, with strange texture and consistency. it may be an indication of some underlying serious condition like gonorrhea, bacterial/yeast infection or even cancer.

Anxiety is Natural But Should Not Hinder Healthcare

It is understandable that the pandemic has increased the anxiety levels in many women who just want to stay safe to avoid infection. But ignoring your essential Gynae surgeries due to the risk of the pandemic is not the answer. Your health has to take priority over your fears. It has been three months since the pandemic broke out in India and it is still raging. It could be many more months before the threat reduces.

Adapt to the new normal

It is a harsh reality now that coronavirus is not going away anytime soon, so it is important we adopt the new normal when it comes to our healthcare management. Take the necessary precautions required to safeguard yourself but do not postpone your important gynae surgeries. Postponing them may protect you from the virus, but it will definitely lead to other more serious health complications. So, have a frank discussion with your doctors, let them know your concerns. They will be able to reassure you about the precautionary measures taken. However, most importantly, get that surgery scheduled.

The author is consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist at Motherhood Hospitals in Hebbal, Bangalore.