Common Reproductive Health Concerns That Every Women Should Be Aware Of
With the busy lifestyles that women lead today, including getting burdened with a lot of stress along with poor lifestyle choices and diet, there has been a lot of negative impact on their health. This involves both their general well being as well as their reproductive health. The female reproductive system is very delicate; even a little hormonal imbalance can have a great impact on its functioning and health. As compared to men, a major chunk of diseases in women are related to the malfunctioning of the reproductive system. It is, therefore, very important for women to take care of the health of their reproductive system and not to ignore the minor signs and symptoms of abnormality early on.
Good reproductive health means that they will be able to make the right choices when it comes to making big decisions in their lives, such as when to have children or whether to have them or not. And so making healthy choices when it comes to lifestyle in today’s busy lives has become all the more important, along with that getting screened for any possible issues with the reproductive system also should not be ignored. This applies to even those women that are not experiencing any abnormalities with their reproductive system, getting a yearly screening or a pap smear test is imperative to ensure a long and healthy life devoid of any diseases related to the reproductive system.
Some of the common reproductive health concerns for women that every woman should be aware of are as follows:
Endometriosis is a disorder that affects the uterus. It is when the tissue lining the uterus, also known as the endometrial tissue, grows in other places outside of the uterus like, for example, the ovaries, in the pelvic area, on the bowel, etc. Although it is very rare for the endometrial tissue to grow beyond the pelvic area, then again, it is possible. The hormonal changes pertaining to the menstrual cycle makes these abnormally placed tissues to get inflamed and cause pain. Just like when you have your period where the lining of the uterus is shed each month the same way these tissues also shed each month, but since they do not have anywhere to go, they start accumulating in the pelvic area. This tissue that is stuck in the pelvic area causes:
- extremely painful periods
- formation of scars
- these tissues can also cause the organs in the pelvic area to stick together
Most women do not have any symptoms of endometriosis, but it can be detected by tests like ultrasound, Laparoscopy, etc.
2. Cervical Dysplasia
In Cervical Dysplasia, there are abnormal growths of cells inside and around the cervix. Although the abnormal growth of cells in and around the cervix does not mean that a person has cancer, if this condition is not treated, it can become cancer. Cervical Dysplasia is spread through sex and is caused by human papillomavirus. This disorder of the reproductive system does not show any symptoms and can only be confirmed by a pap smear. Cervical Dysplasia ranges from mild, moderate, and severe. Mild Cervical Dysplasia can disappear on its own, while moderate and severe Cervical Dysplasia needs immediate medical attention. It can be treated by electrocauterization, laser surgery, cone biopsy, cryosurgery, and LEEP.
3. Uterine Fibroids
Uterine Fibroids are tumors made up of tissues and muscle cells that grow in and around the wall of the uterus. The Uterine Fibroids are, most of the time, benign in nature. The cause of this tumor is still not known, but they seem to target mostly African-American women along with those that are overweight. Most women do not have any signs or symptoms of uterine fibroids. Still, when they do, they suffer from very painful and heavy periods along with bloating in the abdominal area, painful sex, frequent urination, pain in the lower back, and other reproductive issues like miscarriages, infertility, etc.
4. Menstrual Disorders
Disorders relating to the menstrual cycle are almost always caused by hormonal imbalances along with disorders related to clotting, cancer, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, genetics, and Sexually Transmitted Diseases. These are diagnosed based on the medical history of the patient, the symptoms and tests like a pap test, hormonal and blood tests, etc. Most menstrual disorders can be treated with the help of surgery, medicines, and diet changes. Some highly common disorders related to the menstrual cycle are:
- Absence of menstruation or Amenorrhea
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Prolonged or heavy menstrual bleeding
- Light or absent menstruation
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
5. Gynecologic Cancer
Gynecologic Cancer means any type of cancer that first appears in the reproductive organs of a woman. Some common types of gynecologic Cancers are:
- Cancer of the Ovaries
- Cervical Cancer
- Cancer of the Vulva
- Uterine Cancer
- Cancer of the Vagina
6. Pelvic Floor Prolapse
Pelvic Floor Prolapse is a disorder of the pelvic floor; it occurs when the various organs located in the pelvic floor area like the bladder, rectum, vagina, uterus, urethra fall or descend due to the overstretched and weak muscles of the pelvic floor that support these organs. Pelvic Floor Prolapse is mostly seen in women that have given birth or in those that have had some surgery. There are three stages of Pelvic Floor Prolapse, and mild Pelvic Floor Prolapse can be treated with changes in the diet, working out, etc., moderate Pelvic Floor Prolapse is treated with the help of a pessary that keeps the organs in their position, severe Pelvic Floor Prolapse is treated with the help of surgery.
The human immunodeficiency virus targets the CD4 cells in the body. These cells are part of the immune system of the body. HIV destroys these cells, and the body’s immune system becomes so weak that it cannot fight off infections as effectively as before. There is no cure for HIV, but it can be managed with the help of medications. If HIV is left to progress, it turns into AIDS or acquired immune deficiency syndrome. At this last stage of HIV, the body’s immune system is highly compromised.
HIV in females
HIV is spread through having sex with an HIV infected person along with the sharing of needles. Women that belong to Black or African-American ethnicity are the most affected with this infection.
HIV in pregnant women
All pregnant women should get tested for HIV. If they have it, then they need to discuss it with their doctors to make sure that their babies are not HIV positive. If an HIV positive mother consults her doctor early on in terms of how to prevent her baby from getting infected with HIV, there are better chances of making that possible.
8. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) occurs when the adrenal glands in the woman’s body or the ovaries produce more amounts of the male hormone than it is considered normal. It is also one of the common reproductive health concerns for women that every woman should be aware of. Due to this fluid-filled sacs or cysts form on the ovaries. Women that suffer from Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) are more at risk of developing cardiac-related issues and diabetes. If you are overweight, you are more likely to develop PCOS. The symptoms of PCOS are:
- Problems with fertility
- Pain in the pelvic area
- Hirsutism or extra growth of hair on the stomach, face, toes, chest, etc.
- Male pattern baldness
- Matches of darkly pigmented skin
- Oily skin, acne, and dandruff
9. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
Sexually Transmitted Diseases are infections that can be transmitted from one person to another by having unprotected sex with an infected person. These are mainly caused by pathogens, like bacteria, viruses, etc. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, while they affect both men and women, some STDs can have a very serious impact on only women.
If a woman with STD gets pregnant, it can cause severe health issues for her baby. Sexually Transmitted Diseases caused by bacteria can be treated with the help of antibiotics, but those that are caused by viruses have no cure. However, they can be managed with the help of medications. To avoid getting STDs, it is important to practice safe sex, and using condoms is imperative while engaging in sexual activities.
Every woman has to go through menopause at some point in her life. It is characterized by the absence of periods, which means that a woman can no longer bear a child. Although menopause is not a disease, sometimes it can cause some problems for certain women. It is generally the symptoms of menopause that some women find it so hard to cope up with.
The symptoms and signs of menopause may start a year in advance and continue for another year. Its symptoms include irregular menstrual cycles, hot flashes, vaginal dryness, insomnia, night sweats, urinary issues, emotional issues, hair loss, lower fertility, etc. If a woman is having problems coping up with the symptoms of menopause, they can consult a gynaecologist. These can be cured with the help of medications and hormone replacement therapy.
11. Interstitial Cystitis
Interstitial Cystitis or IC is a disorder of the bladder, which is characterized by extreme pain in the bladder and the pelvic area. It causes the walls of the bladder to be inflamed and irritated along with causing it to stiffen and scar. Although It can affect both men and women, it is usually seen to affect women more. Its symptoms are:
- Discomfort in the pelvic area
- Feeling the need to urinate frequently
- Having an urgent urge to urinate
- Extreme pain in the pelvic area
- Pressure in the bladder or the abdomen
- Extreme pain in the abdominal area that gets more severe with the emptying and filling of the bladder.
We have listed these common reproductive health concerns that every woman should be aware of. There is no need to panic as with adequate medical care, and these disorders can be treated or managed. It is, therefore, important for women to be more aware of their reproductive health and get themselves screened if they suspect anything abnormal.
Board-Certified Gynecologist in the Gilbert / Tempe / Mesa, AZ Area
If you are struggling with any of the symptoms of any gynecologic health issue, schedule an appointment with your gynecologist. Patients living in Gilbert, Tempe, or Mesa, Arizona, areas can schedule an appointment with a board-certified gynecologist through Embry Women’s Health. Common gynecologic symptoms may include.
To schedule an appointment with a board-certified OB/GYN in Gilbert, Tempe or Mesa, AZ, call Embry Women’s Health at 480-376-2170.
- webmd.com and medlineplus.gov