Recognizing Reproductive Health Disorders: Signs, Symptoms, and Treatment Options
Recognizing Reproductive Health Disorders
Women should be encouraged to take every sign of reproductive health issues seriously. Even a little discomfort can be a warning sign of a bigger problem.
Reproductive health includes having a satisfying sex life and the freedom to decide when and how to reproduce. It also involves a healthy lifestyle.
Endometriosis is when the uterus’s lining grows on other organs or tissues inside your body. It’s usually on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the pelvis. But it can also be on the bowels, bladder or diaphragm. The tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds each month. It can’t exit the body, so it’s trapped and causes pain, swelling and fertility problems.
Your doctor can diagnose endometriosis by a pelvic exam, blood work and imaging tests like an ultrasound or CT scan. Your doctor can also make a small cut in your belly and insert a thin tube with a camera on the end (called laparoscopy). They can see where and how large the lesions are. They can also take a sample of the tissue and send it to a lab for diagnosis.
Surgery to remove the growths and scar tissue can help reduce your symptoms and improve your chances of becoming pregnant. However, the pain and fertility problems can come back.
Having trouble getting pregnant can turn an exciting time of life into one of frustration and stress. If you have been trying to conceive for a year without success, or if you have had two or more miscarriages, talk to your health care professional about an infertility evaluation.
The main symptom of infertility is not being able to get pregnant, although women with this condition may have painful or irregular periods, and men may have erectile problems. But many people don’t have any symptoms at all.
Treatment for infertility varies for different causes. It can include medications or surgery, assisted reproductive technology (ART) or both for women and men.
Government policies that incorporate fertility awareness in comprehensive sexuality education and promote healthy lifestyles to reduce behavioural risks can mitigate the need for costly and often not easily accessible treatments for this condition. The same applies to reducing the prevalence of unsafe abortion and preventing complications of induced terminations by promoting safe, early diagnosis and treatment.
For some women, menstruation comes and goes like clockwork without causing any problems. But others experience a variety of disruptive physical and emotional symptoms, from heavy bleeding to unmanageable mood swings, just before or during their periods.
If you have an irregular period, especially one that’s heavier or longer than usual, talk to your health care professional. They will evaluate your symptoms and medical history, perform a pelvic exam and, if necessary, order blood tests to identify the cause of your problem.
Hormonal imbalances, clotting disorders and pelvic diseases can all cause abnormal menstrual bleeding. Treatment options include taking pain relievers to control cramping, birth control pills to reduce or regulate heavy flow and surgical procedures such as endometrial ablation (which destroys the tissue inside the uterus) and hysterectomy (which removes the uterus). These treatments can help stop abnormal bleeding. They may also prevent future problems, such as endometriosis and adenomyosis. If your bleeding continues after these treatments, call your health care professional.
Many types of infections can be caused by bacteria, viruses or fungi. Infections occur when germs invade living cells, which can cause illness, organ or tissue damage and even death. Germs may spread from person to person in many ways, including through coughing or close contact with others, eating contaminated food or water and getting bitten by an insect or tick.
Bacterial infections can include cellulitis (fluid-filled, itchy, painful sores that break open) and impetigo (fever, itchiness, fluid that leaks and honey-colored scabs). Viral infections can include shingles and herpes. Fungi can cause a variety of infections, including ringworm and athlete’s foot.
Sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs, spread through fluids in the body, most often during vaginal, oral or anal sex. Some STDs, like chlamydia and gonorrhea, can cause serious complications. They are spread most often between teens and young adults. They also can be spread by sharing infected needles among people who use street drugs.