As a woman, having the best body, best hair, best shoe collection, and a closet full of designers aren’t enough to make you completely happy. Don’t roll your eyes at me, Sandra, these are pure facts. As a young woman I have craved having all these things, but having experienced the lack of one thing, changed my whole perspective. In 2020, I almost lost my eyesight, but thanks to God’s mercies I got healed. This experience had me appreciating health as one of the fundamentals of being truly happy.
Great general health is very important, but today I am not going to go on and on about the importance of being healthy- there are enough articles on this already. Today I am going to talk about our reproductive health which is part and parcel of our general health.
Just recently, a friend of mine took an emergency pill-p2 to be precise- and after a month she hadn’t received her period and there were no signs of it forthcoming either. Thinking that she was pregnant, she went ahead and took a test, luckily it turned out negative. This meant that the contraceptive did work but had affected her hormones. This got me thinking of the number of times women have had to experience various side effects from having taken a contraceptive.
Last year, a wife in a popular reality TV show revealed that she experiences heavy bleeding and severe cramping due to the use of contraceptives. So many women complained of having shared the same predicament as her and also complained of weight gain, headaches and migraines, decreased libido and so many other effects.
Why haven’t researchers been able to come up with contraceptives that don’t have so many side effects yet? We all agree that contraceptives are important as they give women the power to control nature and unplanned pregnancies. But with their great upside, must there be so many side effects?
According to statistics, 25% of women of reproductive age have fibroids. By the age of 50, up to 80% of black women and up to 70% of white women have fibroids. Dealing with fibroids and cysts is a big challenge for most women. Some have reported having painful periods, heavy bleeding, and having cried themselves to sleep due to this condition. One Miss Njoroge who was interviewed by the Star newspaper said, “My fibroids are hereditary. It was depressing a lot to know that my fibroids would cause me to not have children among other side effects. The doctor said I would start growing a lot of hair. I have hair on my face, beards, my body is extremely hairy. This was because of the cysts. But the fibroids were also weighing down on me”. Her story reminded me of the time I went to visit my cousin in hospital- before corona. I met a middle-aged woman who was scheduled to go in for a hysterectomy due to her fibrosis weighing heavily on her. She was 42 with no child and her uterus was being extracted-it was so sad to hear her talk about it. The lady was downhearted but she knew she needed the surgery to improve her life. This is just one of the many different cases women have to go through on a daily basis.
One major problem that women face in maintaining their reproductive health is the lack of funds. A lot of women in marginalized communities do not have access to even a dollar a day making them unable to afford basic health care. A lot of women have in fact given birth to a lot of children that they cannot afford to raise. Some have also had to face serious reproductive health issues with little or no access to medical care.
Sexual and reproductive health problems are responsible for one-third of health issues for women between the ages of 15 and 44 years. Unsafe sex is a major risk factor – particularly among women and girls in developing countries
Women face numerous reproductive health issues- Endometriosis, Uterine Fibroids, Interstitial Cystitis to name just a few. These reproductive health issues have caused some women to fall into depression, become infertile, and face so many other challenges like social stigma. While some of these reproductive health conditions can be prevented, most of them cannot. It is therefore important for us to take care of ourselves and to make sure we take notice of any changes in our bodies and immediately visit a doctor. should something not feel right.
A woman’s reproductive health is a delicate and complex system in the body. It is important to take steps to protect it from infections and injury and prevent problems—including some long-term health problems. Taking care of yourself and making healthy choices can help protect you and your loved ones. Protecting your reproductive system also means having control of your health, if and when, you become pregnant.
As women, we need to take care of our bodies as nobody ever will if we don’t. We must also make sure that we visit the hospital before we take on any contraceptives as you want to use the one that has been prescribed for you. Don’t use a contraceptive because your friend is using it. Remember, one man’s meat is another man’s poison.