common reproductive health problems in adolescence

You may be familiar with the expression that the children are our future, but what happens when they grow up and experience difficulties having children of their own? Understanding some of the common reproductive health problems in adolescence can be key to preventing future problems.

Whether you’re a parent or a teenager worried about reproductive health problems in adolescence, it’s an important topic that deserves the attention of medical practitioners and patients alike. Even if you’re not planning on having a child anytime soon, it’s still crucial to ensure your health is in proper working order for when/if you eventually want to.

Why Is Reproductive Health Important?

According to the World Health Organization, adolescence refers to the period that occurs between the ages of 10 and 19 years of age. While this age group may seem young to many, this is the age group that is often most in need of information concerning reproductive health.

Yet surprisingly, teaching teenagers facts about the reproductive system is not as common as it should be. Today, healthcare professionals and schools are making efforts to prioritize sexual education, as knowledge on these matters may hold the key to preventing people from experiencing complications later on in life.

In order to encourage safe sexual growth, it’s vital to be open to discussions about symptoms, side effects and care. Not sure what to look for when it comes to early warning signs of reproductive health issues in females? Here’s a list of health issues that can lead to reproductive complications down the line — and ways you can prevent them.

STIs/HIV

If you’re an adolescent, you’ve likely had the privilege of sitting through an awkward conversation concerning “the birds and the bees.” But while it’s important to be aware of sexual practices and protection, it’s crucial to understand the health implications that can occur from STIs.

STIs are infections that manifest after having sex with another person who carries that infection. HIV is a well-known STI that specifically targets cells in the immune system. STIs, such as HIV, can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease — a form of tubal damage which can lead to fertility issues in the future.

You don’t need to read any further to know that STIs should be avoided at all costs, but that’s easier said than done, and they’re not an uncommon issue, either. When adolescents become more sexually active, their lack of knowledge often increases their chances of catching viruses. If you find yourself dealing with this issue, don’t jump into a state of panic just yet.

If you believe you’ve contracted one of these infections, be sure to connect with a physician who can prescribe you the necessary medication to cure or manage your symptoms.

Fibroids or Noncancerous Tumors

Any abnormality in your uterus area should signal an alarm. But lumps, such as fibroids and other noncancerous tumors, seem to be amongst the most panic-inducing issues. Approximately 20 to 50% of reproductive women have fibroids, which means this issue is even more common than you think. Luckily, most fibroids and benign tumors are relatively harmless and cause no pain.

In some patients, however, these irregularities can cause reproductive health problems in adolescence when they block the fallopian tubes or interfere with one’s ability to implant fertilized eggs. While this may seem like a bunch of frivolous reproductive talk for a young person, it’s best to get these issues under control early on to prevent infertility issues in the future.

Ovulation Disorders

There are many different reasons why a woman may experience irregular or absent ovulation, but a hormonal imbalance is usually culprit number one. Hormonal disorders are amongst women’s top health concerns regarding reproductive health.

Teenagers are widely made aware of disorders such as polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) because their symptoms typically begin to manifest when a female enters the reproductive stage. While the initial symptoms, such as irregular menstruation and excessive acne, may seem only slightly bothersome, it’s best to treat ovulation disorders as soon as possible.

To be in your best reproductive health, you need to possess normalized hormones that ensure proper ovulation, too. Catching these issues during one’s adolescence gives them the chance to normalize their hormones rapidly, better guaranteeing optimal reproductive health.

Endometriosis

Problems of the female reproductive system can occur for a variety of reasons, but one of the leading causes of potential infertility can be traced back to endometriosis. This familiar yet debilitating disease accounts for 25 to 50% of all infertility cases.

What’s even more critical about endometriosis is that it can occur in girls as young as 11 years old. So, it’s crucial to know the early warning signs to prepare for a healthy future.

For most patients, the most common causes of endometriosis are painful intercourse, intense pelvic pain during menstruation and cysts. Unfortunately, many women with this disorder do not show any symptoms, which can make diagnosing this illness a bit tricky.

If you have any worries that suggest abnormally grown endometrial tissue, a gynecologist may recommend a laparoscopy to more adequately give you a diagnosis. When caught early, the right treatment can help you minimalize and manage your symptoms.

Preventing Reproductive Health Problems in Adolescence

Reproductive health problems in adolescence may seem like an overly pro-active topic to address, but it’s vital to inform yourself about early warning signs.

Today, nearly 42 million adolescents define the United States — making up a little over 13% of the entire population. These individuals constitute a significant portion of the country and will be responsible for raising the next generation, which means paying attention to early warning signs for potential health issues.

Remember that reproductive health matters even before you’re ready to take the next step and… well, reproduce. While it’s crucial to maintain your health at this moment, it’s always important to look out for your future-self, too.

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