Hormonal Disorders in Women of Northeast India

Hormonal Disorders in Women of Northeast India

Hormone disorders are a range of illnesses that impact the endocrine system and have a substantial impact on overall health and well-being. Because of the distinct cultural, environmental, and healthcare background of Northeast India, it is important to research hormonal abnormalities in this particular region. This case study aims to investigate the prevalence, contributing factors, difficulties in diagnosing, and available treatments for hormonal abnormalities in females in Northeast India. 


The hormone system is intricate and controlled by several organs, including the pituitary gland, thyroid gland, adrenal glands, ovaries, and pancreas. Menstrual disorders, diabetes, menopausal symptoms, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), and thyroid diseases are common hormonal disorders that affect women. Genetic and environmental factors and lifestyle choices greatly influence hormonal health.


Northeast India's healthcare system has difficulties with its remote location, few resources, and unequal distribution of medical services. Although there is little information available, rates of hormonal disorders among girls in Northeast India appear to be either greater than or equivalent to the national average. Dietary patterns and restricted access to health care are some of the factors influencing these rates. 


Hormonal Disorders in Northeast India: The Seven Sisters States


In Northeast India, PCOS is a common hormonal condition affecting women which includes polycystic ovaries, hyperandrogenism, and irregular menstrual cycles. Menstrual abnormalities, fatigue, and weight fluctuations are frequent symptoms of thyroid diseases, which include hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism. For many women, menopausal symptoms and irregular menstruation have an additional negative influence on their quality of life. 


Thyroid problems are the most common endocrine issues globally. It has been estimated that 42 million individuals in India alone suffer from thyroid problems. The most frequent cause of hypothyroidism in the world is an iodine shortage. Due to its location in the Sub-Himalayan area, the northeastern region of India is likely to have a high prevalence of hypo-functioning thyroid glands. Hypothyroidism is a condition with a wide range of indications and symptoms. If therapy is not started within weeks of birth, hypothyroidism in newborns can cause irreparable mental and physical disability.


Diabetes is a health condition that affects a large number of people in different parts of the country. Several states in northeast India have high prevalence rates of diabetes. Assam is one of the states with the highest prevalence rate of diabetes in the country. According to a report published in the INMR, approximately 10.4 % of the population in Assam is affected by diabetes.


Women in the Northeast now have serious concerns about menstruation, reproductive health, and vaginal health. Over 500 people participated in a poll by Mumbai-based firm Gynoveda, which was done in 8 states in North East India. 15% of women under the age of 35 and 85% of women over the age of 35 participated in the poll.


  • The results showed that 98% of the women in this region have either been impacted by or are now battling these health issues. 
  • Menstrual health problems impact 55% of the respondents, with Polycystic Ovarian Disorder (PCOD) accounting for 36% of cases. 
  • PCOD is a hormonal condition that can cause irregular menstruation, issues with conception, and other issues. Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS), which affects 12% of women, is another prevalent menstrual health issue. A range of mental and physical symptoms that appear before menstruation are collectively referred to as PMS. 
  • PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease, affects 24% of women in terms of vaginal health. Infertility, pelvic discomfort, and other consequences can result from PID, an infection of the reproductive organs. 
  • Yeast infections, or candidiasis, are a prevalent fungal illness that affects 18% of women in the area. 56% of women in the Northeast have menstrual health problems or have suffered from them, and 42% have vaginal health problems or have suffered from them. 

Causes and the Risk Factors:


In the seven sister states of Northeast India, namely Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura, as well as the eastern state of Sikkim, several factors contribute to the risk of hormonal disorders:


High Carbohydrate Intake: Rice, bread, and noodles are common staples in Northeast Indian traditional diets. These meals are high in carbohydrates. Even though these foods provide you with energy, consuming too many refined carbs without enough fiber from fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can cause insulin resistance and metabolic imbalances, which can aggravate diabetes and PCOS.


Low Fruit and Vegetable Consumption: Northeast India has a wealth of natural resources, including a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. Low intake of fruits and vegetables can be caused by a variety of factors, including cultural preferences for meat-based meals, limited access to fresh products, and shifting dietary patterns due to urbanization. People are therefore deprived of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that are needed for hormonal balance and general wellness.


Sedentary lives: The metropolitan regions of Northeast India, have rapidly modernized and urbanized, which has resulted in sedentary lives, causing a decline in physical activity and an increase in dependency on motorized transportation and sedentary jobs. The risk of diseases including obesity, PCOS, and metabolic syndrome is increased when there is a frequent lack of exercise and physical activity since these factors lead to weight gain, insulin resistance, and hormone imbalances.


Socioeconomic Factors: In Northeast India, there are socioeconomic inequalities such as poverty, restricted access to healthcare, and lack of educational awareness. Hormonal abnormalities are more common because rural residents and underprivileged communities do not have access to wholesome food, medical treatment, and health education. 


Diagnostic and Treatment Challenges:


Certain geographic, cultural, and economic factors make it more difficult to diagnose and treat hormonal disorders in the seven sister states of Northeast India:


Restricted Access to Medical Facilities: In the Northeast, rural communities lack proper medical facilities, such as clinics, hospitals, and diagnostic centers. Accessing medical services can be challenging in areas with low human populations, and inadequate transportation connectivity. Because of this, people who live in rural or isolated places could have trouble getting timely screenings, diagnostic testing, and expert consultations for hormone abnormalities.


Cultural taboos and stigma: In many Northeastern communities, there are still cultural taboos related to menstruation, reproductive health, and women's health, which makes people reluctant to reveal symptoms of hormonal abnormalities or seek medical attention. The long-term health of a woman might deteriorate due to delayed diagnosis and treatment because of the stigma surrounding reproductive health.


Traditional Medicine Practices: Traditional medicine systems, such as Ayurveda, Unani, and traditional tribal healing practices, are deeply rooted in the culture and beliefs of Northeast Indian communities. Many individuals prefer traditional remedies for managing health conditions, including hormonal disorders. Reliance on traditional medicine may delay medical treatment, compromising timely diagnosis and appropriate management of hormonal disorders.


Challenges with Healthcare Infrastructure: There have been several efforts to improve the healthcare infrastructure in the Northeast, but there are still significant problems with staffing, equipment availability, and service delivery. The lack of endocrinologists, gynecologists, and reproductive health professionals makes it more difficult to diagnose and treat hormonal problems. A lack of education and awareness of hormonal health issues among medical providers may result in an incorrect diagnosis or inadequate treatment of these conditions.


Interventions and Preventive Measures:

Health education and awareness: Public health programs should place a high priority on health education and awareness campaigns to increase public knowledge of hormonal diseases, including their symptoms, risk factors, and the significance of early identification. To reach a variety of groups throughout the region, these campaigns can make use of media, such as radio, television, community meetings, and social media platforms.

Women's health empowerment: To identify and prevent diseases, women must prioritize their hormonal health. The main goals of women's health programs should be to increase self-awareness, support routine physical examinations, and give access to services related to hormone and reproductive health. 

Early detection and screening programs: Early intervention can be done by implementing screening programs for hormonal abnormalities, such as PCOS and thyroid problems, to identify individuals who may be at risk. Screenings and basic diagnostic tests can be provided through community health centers, outreach camps, and mobile health clinics. Resources for screening programs in rural and isolated regions with limited access to healthcare should be given top priority by health authorities.

Partnerships and Cooperation: To increase the number of preventative measures and interventions for hormonal disorders, cooperation between government agencies, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), civil society organizations, academia, and business sector partners is essential. These collaborations have the potential to enhance the implementation of comprehensive and sustainable interventions that address the complex issues of hormonal health in Northeast India.


Addressing the hormonal disorders among females in the seven sister states of Northeast India requires a comprehensive approach. Culturally responsive therapies that respect local beliefs and customs around reproductive health are crucial for the seven sister’s various cultural identities and practices. To debunk misconceptions, lessen stigma, and promote awareness regarding hormonal health, public health programs should place a high priority on community involvement and education. 

The socioeconomic differences, such as poverty and poor access to healthcare, make it difficult to treat hormone abnormalities. Enhancing the infrastructure of healthcare, especially in isolated and rural regions, is crucial to providing high-quality medical services, such as hormone problem screening, diagnosis, and treatment. 

Collaboration between healthcare practitioners, policymakers, non-governmental organizations, and community stakeholders is essential to implement interventions and programs effectively. Stakeholders in the seven sister states may enhance healthcare access, increase awareness, and advance comprehensive approaches to hormonal health by cooperating and utilizing resources, knowledge, and networks. 

Moreover, combining conventional medical procedures with contemporary healthcare systems might improve the efficacy and acceptability of treatments for illnesses related to hormones. In conclusion, tackling hormonal abnormalities in females in Northeast India requires a coordinated effort from all parties involved to get over the problems of healthcare. We can improve women's overall health and well-being in the seven sister states by prioritizing community participation, healthcare access, and cooperative collaborations.