Whether you’re trying to conceive or are merely looking for a way to maintain your health as you age, there’s nothing wrong with wanting to learn more the common disorders and problems of the female reproductive system. Remember that in order to be a healthy woman, your whole body should be in tip-top working shape, too.
This, of course, means that paying attention to your uterus, ovaries, vaginal area and fallopian tubes is key to achieving your health goals with success. There’s an entire universe in there! And while it may seem like your body’s out to get you every month, it’s not.
But unfortunately, school doesn’t always necessarily teach us all there is to know about keeping our female body parts in perfect working harmony. Luckily, we’ve compiled a list of five common problems of the female reproductive system that women should be on the lookout for to remain at their healthiest.
Not only is endometriosis a word many people can’t pronounce, but it’s also often a condition many have never heard of, too!
When they discuss a female’s anatomy in health class, they’re likely to skim over everyday women’s health conditions such as endometriosis, even though an astonishing 11 percent of women suffer from this health problem.
But what is endometriosis and why should you care? Named after the endometrium tissue that lines a woman’s uterus, endometriosis occurs when this tissue grows in other places of the reproductive system where it shouldn’t be.
This leads to pain, spotting, digestive issues and sometimes infertility. While this condition can’t be prevented, it’s important to be aware of the symptoms of endometriosis so that women with this disorder can develop the ideal treatment plan for their needs.
Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
You may be asking yourself, “Why is reproductive health important, especially when I have no immediate plans to try to conceive?” While reproductive organs may be made for having babies, keeping them healthy is just as important when you choose to forgo getting pregnant, too. All the plumbing needs to work whether you plan to bake a baby bun or not.
In fact, many women’s health issues center around the reproductive system. One such problem is polycystic ovary syndrome — a hormonal imbalance in the ovaries that affects nearly one in ten women of childbearing age.
While the most immediate sign of PCOS is irregular or infrequent menstruation, this disorder is also one of the most common causes of infertility, too. Fortunately, many women are still able to have a successful and healthy pregnancy even after receiving the diagnosis of PCOS.
The best way to increase your fertility it to discuss your symptoms with a doctor while finding a medicine plan that helps you relieve and manage your symptoms. So, if Aunt Flo is throwing you odd surprise parties, visit your doctor.
Sexual Transmitted Diseases
We all had that one health class. You know, that one where photos of gonorrhea and chlamydia were shown front and center on a projector to discourage us from engaging in sexual activity. They figured if they could burn those images into your brain, your sex organs would flee in terror.
But while these pictures may have encouraged us to participate in healthier sex practices, few realize that the influence of STDs on the body extends to the reproductive system, too.
While the signs and symptoms of an STD aren’t always immediately apparent. Experiencing painful urination, lower abdominal pain after sex, bleeding in between periods or abnormal vaginal discharge may be reason enough to get tested.
Reproductive health problems in adolescence can stem from an unawareness of the far-reaching effects of unsafe sex. Whether out of embarrassment or fear, an unwillingness to treat the early signs of an STD can lead to fertility issues in the future. Never be afraid to discuss any abnormalities in your reproductive system to access the tests and resources you need.
Make the doctor appointment. Ask the awkward questions. Learn about your gears, whirlagigs and plumbing in detail.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
As you might suspect, pelvic inflammatory disease is an infection that causes inflammation in the pelvic-centered portion of a woman’s body. But did you know many women with PID are unaware of their diagnosis until they are actively trying to get pregnant?
When left untreated, PID can damage your reproductive organs and lead to infertility. For some women with severe PID, tubal scarring can lead to an ectopic pregnancy — necessitating emergency medical assistance. While some women experience symptoms such as lower abdominal pain after sex or heavy vaginal discharge, they often overlook these signs until they struggle to become pregnant and seek medical help for fertility-related issues.
Fortunately, PID is preventable. Since a chlamydia or gonorrhea infection typically causes this disease, practicing safe sex becomes crucial for avoiding STDs and ensuring your reproductive health, too.
Almost any health discussion that involves the phrase “lumps” is sure to ignite a sense of overwhelming fear.
After all, growths aren’t exactly a delightful surprise when they pop up. While most people mistakenly associate bumps and tumors with cancer, they can also occur in the form of fibroids in your uterus — while fortunately not causing too much damage, too.
Ultimately, the extent to which fibroids will influence a woman’s pregnancy depends on their location. Fibroids that block the fallopian tubes or alter the shape of your cervix may make it more difficult for implantation to occur. This one of those moments where spotting is a good thing to look for.
Although you might not hear the phrase “uterine fibroids” discussed in everyday conversations, nearly one in five women will experience these tumors sometime in their life. When you schedule routine visits with a gynecologist during your childbearing years, you significantly reduce your chance of developing complications from common problems of the female reproductive system by catching them early on.
Discuss Your Symptoms with a Licensed Gynecologist
If you’re wondering how to maintain your reproductive health, it’s vital to familiarize yourself with common problems of the female reproductive system that could impact your ability to conceive. All sorts of things go wonky with the female reproductive system — stories of twins discovered late in pregnancy and all sorts of other anomalies can scare us into thinking we’ll never truly understand what’s going on with our bodies!
Reproductive health matters, so never be afraid to discuss your signs and symptoms with a gynecologist or physician whenever necessary. Do you think you have one of the common reproductive issues mentioned above? No worries! Sometimes, all it takes is a simple antibiotic, medication or lifestyle change to help get your sense of wellbeing — and fertility — back on track. Aunt Flo sends her regards.