The Impacts of Climate Change on Women's Gynecological Health and The Environmental Crisis


The Impacts of Climate Change on Women's Gynecological Health and The Environmental Crisis


Both our environment and our bodily systems have suffered as a result of the rapid climate change that has occurred over the last ten years. The fact that this has disproportionately affected women and gender minorities more than men around the world is something that frequently goes unreported.

This is due to the increased hazards and vulnerabilities that women face, which are significantly more frequent and severe than those faced by men. The greatest degradation that women experience is that of their physical health, which further compounds their social, cultural, and economic vulnerabilities as a result of a climatic system that is perpetually deteriorating.

Given that women experience menstruation and pregnancy on a more regular basis than men, it must be noted that health is a concern that affects them far more than males. Gynecological problems have thus always been a focus of research when it comes to the challenges that women encounter.

Ø Women's socio-cultural, economic, and climate change vulnerabilities

Women make up a larger proportion of the world's population living in poverty. Because they have little to no access to human rights protections, basic healthcare, and educational opportunities, women's daily problems are rarely acknowledged to be resolved.

Additionally, they rely on nearby natural resources for their daily needs. Their already deteriorating health conditions are only made worse by a degrading environment, which also affects their gynecological system and the children they bear.

It has been discovered that the majority of women in rural regions have the "double burden" of being both housewives and responsible for the upbringing of their daughter’s children. These women must travel considerable distances to gather the natural resources that are essential to their livelihoods due to droughts and the drying up of water supplies brought on by climate change.

In the majority of these locations, women experience an aggravating difficulty with the diminishing sources of clean drinking water. The time-consuming chores only become more challenging and time-consuming for women and that deeply affects their overall health.

Ø Rising sea levels, miscarriages, and pregnancy problems

Temperatures rise as a result of the ice caps melting more frequently. This increases local air pressure, which has an opposite effect on local sea levels. According to several studies, women who live close to rivers and the sea experience more problematic pregnancies and miscarriages than those who live on plains. This is due to the rising sea levels, growing salt concentrations in freshwater, and the availability of drinking water.

According to research, pregnant women who live on coastal plains are 1.3 times more likely to miscarry than those who reside inland. This, according to them, is primarily due to the salt in the water that these women regularly drink. Of course, it is not their fault because the cause of the issue is global warming and the rapidly rising sea levels. In addition to contaminating the water, salty water seeps into freshwater streams, river channels, and underground water reserves.

Then, in villages, this salt-filled water is obtained from wells, tube wells, etc. In certain isolated locations, the water occasionally even becomes reddish from an excess of salt. The same water is used for bathing, cooking, washing clothing, and other daily activities because there is no other option.

Health campaigns from the UK have also cautioned against the harmful effects of consuming too much salt. In addition to causing hypertension and strokes in general, it has also been linked to obstetric issues like preeclampsia and miscarriages in pregnant women.

Bangladesh is one example of a country that has long suffered from this issue. The nation is home to most communities that are tainted with too much salt in their soil and water since it is a low-lying flood plain that was once damaged by the tsunami. This shouldn't be taken as an exclusive statement because other locations with increasing sea levels are thought to experience the same problem. The fact that the women in these communities accept their destiny as they are continuing to be the most terrible component of this issue.

Ø Effects of heat on women's overall health and menstrual cycles

Rising temperatures are a significant contributor to the development of irregularities in women's menstrual cycles, in addition to several other reasons. Stress, exhaustion, anxiety, acne, and a host of other issues are brought on by the heat. These have an impact on women's menstrual cycles, in turn, causing problems.

In terms of their gynecological health, the recent heat waves have been incredibly damaging to women. Numerous studies have shown that women experience summers as a whole as being significantly more uncomfortable. In the humid summers, women are more susceptible to yeast infections and UTIs. Dietary patterns that are constantly altering in response to temperature affect periods as well, causing them to arrive early and cause severe bleeding.

The risks of miscarriages among pregnant women have also been observed to increase due to seasonal fluctuations that occur throughout the impending hot summers. There is little doubt that excessive heat plays a role in several problems including miscarriages.

Ø Food insecurity's effects on women as a result of the climate crisis

Rapid changes in the global environment have led to a variety of food-borne diseases, an unstable food supply, and limited accessibility to essential food supplies. Due to these, women are no longer getting the proper nutrients they need for growth and development. As a result, numerous women have anemia and malnutrition during the crucial times of menstruation and childbirth.

Once more, this has an impact on women who are less socioculturally prepared.  According to a PMC study on the subject, crop failure owing to climate change threatens to further exacerbate women's poverty and poor health outcomes, putting their livelihoods in danger. In addition to this, a malnourished mother's effects are passed on to her offspring. As a result, inadequate access to essential resources like food and water is a major cause of women's infertility problems.

Ø What is attainable?

Recognizing the disparity in these gendered health issues caused by climate change is the first and most important step in improving them. More connections between women's declining gynecological health and global warming are continually being discovered by researchers.

Healthcare experts and policymakers should especially address the nexus of gender and environmental disasters to lessen the effects of worldwide rising temperatures on pregnant individuals. Additionally, more women and people from gender minorities ought to be involved in the formulation of policies. This will increase public awareness and help climate adaptation policies reach higher requirements.

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