The world we live in has metamorphosed from being natural to artificial. This change has brought with it a new lifestyle and ways of maintaining a good body shape by mothers some of which have negative health outcomes. For instance, civilization and its newly adopted lifestyle has made nursing mothers without any medically confirmed indication to substitute natural breastfeeding with formula feed with justification such as avoidance of breast sagging etc. being blinded that one of the negative health outcomes of such lifestyle is ovarian cancer.
What is Ovary?
An ovary is a vital organ found in the female mammal reproductive system that is responsible for egg production. This egg when released travels through the fallopian tube into the uterus, where it will be fertilized by a sperm. Invariable for fertilization to occur an egg must be produced, without proper functioning of the ovary, fertilization cannot occur hence difficulty in getting pregnant. Ovarian cancer is one of the conditions that are associated with the ovary that could sabotage its effective functioning.
What is Ovarian Cancer?
Ovarian cancer is a condition that results from the inability of the healthy cells of the ovaries to regenerate, function and mature normally. The proper cycle of cell formation and death is obstructed and the newly altered cancer cells begin to increase rapidly and the normal functioning of the cells as an integral part of the body is denied.
Breastfeeding versus Formula feeding
Breastfeeding means feeding new born with breast milk for growth, nutrition and immune system strengthening while formula feeding popularly known as bottle-feeding are commercially prepared infant formulas which are nutritious alternatives to breast milk, and even contain some vitamins and nutrients that breastfed babies need to get from supplements.
How does lifestyle triggers ovarian cancer
Breastfeeding significantly and positively reduces ovarian cancer occurrences as it decreases lifetime ovulation thus reducing the chance of ovarian cancer hence, not breastfeeding increases a woman’s chance of developing ovarian cancer.
Women who do not breastfeed develop ovarian cancer with poor health outcomes. Breastfeeding has a protective benefits or effect on developing ovarian cancer but this may be attributed to the partial inhibition of ovulation from elevated follicle-stimulating hormone and prolactin levels and lower luteinizing hormone levels in lactating women. Most women do not want to breastfeed their baby because of the new lifestyle they have acquired, a lifestyle of keeping their body in shape, competitive fashion style or a habit of wanting their breast to remain perky even after birth. Some went to the extent of delaying marriage just to remain perky and the return effect is ovarian cancer. Using natural breast milk is not only beneficial to the baby but also to the mother.
Benefits of breastfeeding baby to the mother
There is a need to also lay emphasis on the benefits of breastfeeding. Among other benefits the following are the benefits of breastfeeding to the mother;
1. Breastfeeding mothers return to their pre-pregnancy weight faster than those who do not breastfeed.
2. Breastfeeding reduces the mother’s risk for breast and ovarian cancer.
3. Breastfeeding appears to reduce the risk of obesity and hypertension.
4. The rapid retention of uterus to the normal size and the reduction of blood loss.
5. Breastfeeding has psychological benefits such as increased self-confidence and a stronger connectedness between the mother and the babies.
6. There is the releases of oxytocin and prolactin during breastfeeding.
7. Spacing births, breastfeeding allows the mother to recuperate before she conceives again.
8. Helps mother get needed rest by requiring that she sit or lie down with the baby every few hours to feed.
It is significant to note that not all lifestyles have a positive effect on one’s health. Formula feeding should be avoided at all cost to curb the risk of developing ovarian cancer. Health care providers should educate on exclusive breastfeeding and its benefits during antenatal and post-natal service. It is also right to probe expectant mothers on their perception about formula feed.
Omame Joseph Benjamin is a public health enthusiast with focus on mental and reproductive health. He has passion for reproductive health of individuals and family, and obtained his bachelor’s degree in Rehabilitation Science from the prestigious University of Jos in Nigeria. He is currently undergoing his postgraduate study in public health focusing on population and Reproductive health at the University of Ibadan. Omame is also a good data analyst with verifiable track record.