Uterine prolapse in Nepalese women caused by inequality
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
6/10/2014 (2 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Millions of women in Nepal suffer from a painful condition caused by youthful childbearing and hard work: uterine prolapse. The problem is made worse by shame which these women feel at their condition, which is regarded as "impure."
Women participate in a campaign to bring awareness to inequality in Nepal. This inequality manifests itself in some very real and painful ways.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - A report in Al Jazeera is highlighting the epidemic of uterine prolapses in Nepal where women marry young, bear several children, and work hard. The hard lifestyle admits little time for healing which means the muscles that hold the uterus in place weaken. The uterus can then fall out of place resulting in a painful condition.
According to a report published in 2007 by the Women's Reproductive Rights Program in 2007, uterine prolapse, or falling of the womb, "is a consequence of multiple pregnancies intertwined with abject poverty and discriminatory practices against women in the society."
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The problem is considered chronic in Nepal and is most widespread among agricultural working women who do not get to recover from childbirth before returning to work. About 37 percent of the women surveyed were found to suffer from the condition. Unfortunately, intense social stigma is attached to the condition which prevents awareness and treatment of the problem.
The prolapses are very painful and greatly increase difficulty when evacuating their bowels, urinating, and even when walking or performing ordinary tasks. Women who suffer more severe prolapses where the uterus begins to emerge from the body must attempt to sort the problem for themselves in private, using their own hands.
There is a cultural lack of concern for the problem according to the study. However, more than a million women suffer with this dangerous and debilitating condition, according to Al Jazeera.
Women are afraid that husbands will replace them with new wives if they cannot have sex with their wives as a result of the condition. Women who are unwed can be left to fend for themselves which can result in intense emotional and physical distress.
Despite the lack of concern, men do notice the slowing of women when it occurs. Women slow down because they fear exacerbating the problem, but they won't tell their husbands. Male reactions tend to be criticism, calling women lazy, further fueling cultural stereotypes.
The condition can be resolved through surgery, including hysterectomy, however providing such care is difficult because women in these cases often do not control their bodies. It does not help that agencies that want to give women their rightful say in their health are also closely wed to anti-life initiatives, causing mistrust.
Men make nearly all of the medical decisions for women in Nepal.
Uterine prolapse is thought to be a problem around the world in places where women are marginalized and can make few choices for themselves despite the expectation that they work hard to survive. This is a basic human rights issue, however it is important that as we address it, we do not also deprive the unborn and these women of the proper respect for life and health they deserve.
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