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Women & Diving

Posted: September 18th, 2008 | Author: admin | Filed under: Health | Tags: | 143 Comments »

Women are getting interested in diving nowadays. In this part of our health section we want to give some information about the facts on “women and diving”.

PMS
PMS is an ill-defined group of symptoms that are associated with the hormonal changes that occur in the week or so prior to menses. When severe, the personality and anti-social behavior associated with PMS could be a definite problem in diver interaction on a dive-boat and with a buddy. If the PMS is severe, there seems to be an association with underlying psychiatric disorders. It also worsens as the diver ages, associated with the widening range of estrogen swings. Hormonal replacement works well with PMS. SSRI’s have been found beneficial.

Pregnancy and Diving
One of the most frequent questions people ask is regarding scuba diving while pregnant. The quick answer is “Please don’t dive” while you’re pregnant. We don’t have very good data showing that hyperbaric pressure harms the fetus, and in fact, there are case records of HBO treatment of pregnant mothers with carbon monoxide poisoning without adverse effect on the fetus. However, the fetus does not have the protection of the lungs in filtering out the bubbles as does an adult.

Breast Feeding
There is some concern among divers who are nursing that their infants might be harmed by ‘nitrogen bubbles’ in breast milk. This of no concern as nitrogen does not seem to form bubbles in the milk located in the breast glands. Even if the nitrogen were in bubbles, it would do the infant no harm. Ingesting bubbles, even if microscopic, would in no way be harmful to the child, as it would reside in the gastrointestinal tract where gas is a prominent feature already.

Breast engorgement can occur during the dive excursion since the infant will be away from the breast for several hours. This engorgement can be uncomfortable due to snug dive suits and gear straps. Some accommodation should be made for this eventuality. The changes in pressure of diving would not effect the engorged breasts in any way. Thought should be directed toward possible use of a breast pump, saving the milk in refrigeration for the infant.

Finally, Dr. Maida Taylor has stated (Medical Seminars, 1998), that there are some concerns about the combined energy expenditure of nursing and diving, and the associated dehydration related to immersion causing a decrease in the amount of breast milk. Should this happen, the mother should be prepared to supplement with some formula approved by the Pediatrician. In this regard, it might be wise to consider postponing diving until the infant is weaned, which is usually around the sixth month in Western culture.
You can find detailed upto date information about diving and health, in the official website of scubadoc. (http://www.scuba-doc.com )