Sunday April 22, 2018

Diabetes can hamper your reproductive health

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Today India is facing a potential health epidemic – diabetes. Millions in India have been diagnosed with Diabetes, which earns India a place among the list of top diabetic countries in the world. It’s not just a malady that affects blood sugar level, but it has vital ramifications on the overall functioning of your body. It can lead to vision loss, gangrenes, nerve damages, heart attacks as well as cause infertility.

Alarming reports by WHO state that more than 180 million people worldwide have diabetes, and the number is likely to more than double by 2030.

How does diabetes affect your reproductive Health?

The effect of diabetes on both the male and female fertility quotient is equal. In males, diabetes mellitus (DM) is associated with very subtle disorders, and affects, either directly or indirectly, various functions of the male reproductive system. The T synthesis condition is instigated by molecular deviations at the level of Leydig cells, and may lead to other disorders in all target organs and tissues, which reduces erection, causing impotence, and other libido dissociations.

It has been estimated that approximately 35–75% of men with diabetes experience, at least some degree of erectile dysfunction during their lifetime. While in the case of females, diabetes has a massive effect on reproductive health. The women with diabetes tend to have less sexual desires because of hormonal imbalances. The reproductive period of diabetic women may be reduced due to delayed menarche and premature menopause.

Diabetic females face a lot of menstrual abnormalities; hence, they need a broader evaluation, which will include the examination of the hypothalamic–pituitary–ovarian axis, along with evaluation of hormonal status, checking for the presence of autoimmune thyroid disease, antiovarian autoantibodies, and checking for hyperandrogenism. Diabetes is considered fatal for both mother and child. It can create a life and death situation for both of them when women with diabetes conceive.

How  many types Diabetes are there?

Diabetes is  mainly classified  into three types, Type1, Type2 and Gestational Diabetes. In Type 1, the pancreas produces very little or no insulin, and insulin directly controls the burning of sugar; thus, this leads to excess levels of sugar in the blood stream. This condition is commonly noticed in youth. In Type 2 diabetes, body does not produce insulin at all, leading to fertility alterations in the length of the menstrual cycle, and the age of onset of menopause and  Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS).

Gestational diabetes is a type of diabetes that is seen or diagnosed in a pregnant woman. Obesity is a general problem in both PCOS-affected women and women with Type 2 diabetes. Experts say  that an overweight lady seeking gestation faces longer time to conceive.This is unrelated to age and to cyclic variations. If you are trying to conceive and are diabetic, it is always advised to plan your pregnancy; otherwise it can result in complications.

Working out should be an integral part of daily life.It is recommended that there has to be  at least 150 minutes of physical activity in a week. It can be a 10-minute brisk walk a day or anything like that.

Healthy food is also very significant, but keeping a check on diet never means to eat less. Eating less poses a threat of lowering down of blood sugar level drastically and suddenly,which can be risky.

Another thing that every  woman with diabetes must  follow, is to be in constant touch with your doctor before and during gestation. As, for a diabetic person, medication differs in both the phases; also, keeping an account of blood sugar is mandatory.

So, If you are diabetic and are trying to conceive, but still have not been able to, please consult a doctor immediately.

Mr. Yogesh Vaidya, founder and Chairman of Ivfgurus.com says,“We get a lot of patients who are suffering from diabetes and have failed to conceive, despite being in constant touch with the doctors; as diabetes and pregnancy don’t go well together. We refer them to appropriate doctors as per their medical condition based on what suits them best, for both health and pocket”

Dr. Ruchi Malhotra, Managing director of Fertile solutions IVF & Research Center, says, “Diabetes is a tough disease and also, apart from  medication, diet and physical exercise, one more important thing that is required, is emotional strength. Diabetic patients tend to have more mood swings, in the case of fertility  issues, it is  very difficult for them to keep calm. We always take special care of a diabetic patient’s emotional needs, as it affects the pregnancy directly “.

If multiple trials and constant doctors consult for having a little angel in your life have failed, please do not get disheartened, because science has progressed considerably, and IVF has been discovered long back in 1986. By IVF procedures, it is possible to successfully conceive and have your own child biologically.

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Copyright 2015 NewsGram

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Alternative sanitary pads are here, but accessibility still an issue

The alternatives are slowly treading the path to being accessible to all, and their makers are optimistic about the future

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Accessibility of Sanitary Pads is still an issue. IANS

Awareness about the harm easily-accessible, plastic-based sanitary napkins have been causing to both health and the environment is spreading — but slowly. And helping the cause of better menstrual hygiene, many sanitary pad makers, NGOs and indigenous brands are turning towards natural products to produce sustainable pads.

Organic cotton, banana or jute fibre — and even old clothes — are now among the alternatives on offer to the sanitary pads sold by the MNCs in India.

An alternative for plastic sanitary pads.
Making of better sanitary pads in process.

But why do we need these alternatives?

According to reports, every plastic-based sanitary pad has non-biodegradable content which takes around 500-800 years to decompose. Apart from the threat to the environment, medical experts have also voiced concern over possible pelvic infection due to repeated use of these easily-available plastic pads.

One of the companies providing an alternative is Ahmedabad-based Saathi, which was started in 2015 by graduates from MIT, Harvard and Nirma.

“We realised that there was a need for an alternative, and urban women were looking for different products because they were becoming aware of the consequences of plastic-based pads. The idea of using banana fibre came up and we decided to make sanitary pads based on it,” Saathi co-founder Kristin Kagetsu told IANS. Banana fibre comes from the stem of the banana tree, which, after harvesting, is normally discarded. Saathi buys the stems from collectives of local farmers.

“After being disposed, Saathi’s pads degrade within six months, which is 1,200 times faster than the MNC pads. Since our products are made of natural materials, Saathi pads provide an experience free of rashes and irritation,” Kagetsu added.

It was not an easy ride for the founders of Saathi. Tarun Bothra, another co-founder, said apart from breaking the taboos associated with menstruation, another major challenge for them was to convince banana farmers to sell them the fibre for making pads. “Periods are something that farmers associate with being ‘impure’. So convincing them that it was better to use the banana fibre for the pads than letting it go as a waste was difficult, but we succeeded,” he noted.

Also Read: Taxing Menstruation? GST Denies Sanitary Napkins as Essential Commodity

Another sanitary pad maker, EcoFemme, based in Auroville, is also in the business of making eco-friendly menstrual products — they make cloth-based pads using organic cotton.

“Our target is women aged 18-35. Our products are sold in rural areas through our ‘Pads for Sisters’ programme which offers women the opportunity to buy the pads at a reduced price. The response is good, once there has been a conversation around the benefits,” said Laura O’Connell from EcoFemme.

It’s not just producing the pads; the makers have also taken up the responsibility of creating awareness about menstrual hygiene amongst women, especially in rural areas.

Anshu Gupta’s Not Just Piece of Cloth (NJPC) was among the first to turn clothes into pads. For over a decade now, ‘MyPad’ has been selling its products in rural areas where there is little access to sanitary pads, and even in cities.

“In earlier times, clothes were used. But it was portrayed that clothes were unhygienic. Yes, they are, if not cleaned properly. We at Goonj first thoroughly clean the clothes, make them hygienic, make the pads and the distribute them among women, especially in rural areas,” Meenakshi Gupta from NJPC told IANS.

Non biodegradable sanitary pads.
Plastic sanitary pads do not decompose easily.

She revealed that the idea of making cloth pads came when Goonj, an NGO, found that in rural areas, or even slums of urban cities, women use clothes during menstruation. “It is better to use hygienic clothes than nothing. Women in rural areas lack the knowledge that if used in a hygienic way then clothes are equally good. We don’t aim to make profits, rather make women aware about periods. We have observed quite a change (in attitudes),” she added.

When will such products make it to every household?

Although Saathi has collaborated with local NGOs to reach out to rural women, its co-founder Bothra — also the company’s CTO — believes that the wider use of alternative sanitary pads is going to take some time in India.

“Frankly speaking, in rural areas women don’t even have an idea about sanitary pads; so knowing about the existence of biodegradable sanitary napkins or organic pads or even hygienic clothes is very rare,” Bothra, whose products are available on e-commerce platforms, explained. He further noted that since the MNC-produced pads are easily available at low cost, women don’t show much interest in investing money on the alternatives.

“Price is often a factor for women when it comes to the purchase of biodegradable or organic pads. When one is getting the plastic-based sanitary pads at a lower rate, they don’t like to shell out extra ,” Bothra noted. O’Connell said that though their products have a higher up-front cost, the pads can be used for three to four months — which saves money over time.

A better alternative for plastic sanitary pads.
Sanitary napkins being made from banana fibre.

“Our ‘Pads for Sister’ programme aims to make our pads affordable to women who would otherwise not be able to afford them; and our ‘Pad for Pad’ programme provides our pads to school girls for free,” she added. The alternatives are slowly treading the path to being accessible to all, and their makers are optimistic about the future.

“There is a growing awareness, but there is a lot of work to do to make reusable options more widely known. We believe in informed choices; so we hope that more people in all areas of India, not just rural, will become aware of sustainable options and make a decision based on the fact that reusable products are better for health, the planet and our wallets,” O’Connell commented. IANS