3 health concerns that affect Filipinas today



The Manila Times


Entertainment & Lifestyle

BEING a woman has its own share of health woes. The reality is your biological makeup does impact your overall health and increases your risk of certain conditions like breast cancer and reproductive health problems. In celebration of International Women’s Month, Makati Medical Center (MakatiMed), shares some of the common health concerns of modern Filipinas and the best way to manage one’s risks. GERD is a condition resulting from a recurrent backflow of gastric contents into the esophagus and adjacent structures, causing troublesome symptoms and/or injury to the esophageal lining. It affects both men and women — but women experience its symptoms more frequently. Common symptoms more prominent in women include heartburn, regurgitation, or extraesophageal symptoms like cough and chest pain. “GERD has seen a recent increase in its prevalence among Filipinas because of increased stress, unhealthy weight and lifestyle choices,” Dr. Carlo Conejo, a gastroenterologist and MakatiMed Chief of the Section of Gastroenterology, points out. “Simple changes in your routine may alleviate GERD symptoms — among these elevating the head of the bed while sleeping, abstaining from cigarettes or vapes, restricting alcoholic drinks, minimizing dairy and chocolates, eating small meals, and refraining from spicy, fried, or fatty dishes.” UTI is ubiquitous among women since they have a shorter urethra than men. Dr. Eladio Miguel Peñaranda, Jr., a nephrologist and MakatiMed Chief of the Nephrology Section, explains that it’s easier for germs like E. coli to get into the bladder, where they can multiply, cause inflammation, and spread to the kidney. This can cause frequent urination and pain or a burning sensation when urinating. It can also make the urine smell bad and lead to blood in the urine; if the infection reaches the kidney, a fever is likely to develop. “A woman can be at even greater risk of UTI if she is sexually active, pregnant, or going through menopause. Having diabetes and kidney stones can also make you more prone to infections,” shares Dr. Peñaranda. “Antibiotics may be prescribed to treat UTI. As for prevention, it is best to urinate every three to four hours before and after sex and wipe from front to back. It’s also advisable to wear cotton innerwear and change out of swimwear and workout clothes quickly.” Most women are already familiar with hormonal imbalance — how hormones and their fluctuations affect the body, from menstruation to pregnancy to menopause. But certain lifestyle habits and irregularities in the endocrine glands can cause hormonal imbalances, leading to health issues like diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome, and thyroid disease. “Hormones, which are released from the endocrine glands, are important in many functions of our body like metabolism and reproduction. Having low or high levels of certain hormones can cause changes like weight gain or loss, diarrhea or constipation, and fatigue to more concerning symptoms like elevated cholesterol levels, increased or decreased heart rate, and infertility,” Dr. Ma. Cecilia Gonzales, an endocrinologist, says. “If you’re experiencing hormonal imbalance, consult a doctor to learn more about managing the imbalances.” Treatment options like pills, injections, surgery, or radiation therapy can be done depending on one’s specific case of hormone imbalance. “While these imbalances aren’t fully preventable, it’s best to maintain a healthy weight, exercise regularly, eat a balanced diet, manage stress, and improve sleep quality to keep your hormones balanced and avoid fluctuations that can affect your overall health,” Dr. Gonzales asserts.