The female reproductive system is extremely delicate, with even a little imbalance in the hormonal structure having a great impact on its functioning and health. It’s very important for women to take great care of the health of their reproductive system and be aware of the minor signs and symptoms of abnormality. Good reproductive health affords women the ability 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.
Some of the common reproductive health concerns for women that every woman should be aware of are as follows:
Endometriosis is a disorder which affects the uterus and occurs when the tissue lining the uterus grows in other places outside of the uterus such as in the ovaries, pelvic area, or bowel. This is a very rare occurrence. The hormonal changes during menstrual cycles makes these abnormally placed tissues to get inflamed and lead to pain. Much like when you are on your period where the uterus lining is shed each month, these tissues also shed each month, but they don’t have anywhere to go and start accumulating in the pelvic area. This tissue 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 an ultrasound.
This happens when there are abnormal growths of cells in and around the cervix. Although the abnormal growth of cells does not mean the person has cancer, if not treated, it can become cancerous. Cervical Dysplasia is caused by the human papillomavirus which is spread through sex. It typically does not show any symptoms and can only be confirmed after a pap smear is conducted.
Uterine Fibroids are tumours made up of tissues and muscle cells that grow in and around the wall of the uterus. The Uterine Fibroids are usually benign in nature with their cause still not known. They, however, seem to target mostly African women as well as those that are overweight. When women have uterine fibroids, they suffer from extremely painful and heavy periods, bloating of the abdominal area, frequent urination, pain in the lower back, painful sex and other reproductive complications such as miscarriages and infertility.
Many menstrual cycle disorders are normally caused by one hormonal imbalance or another. This also results in disorders related to clotting, cancer, ovarian cysts, uterine fibroids, genetics, and Sexually Transmitted Infections. These are diagnosed based on the medical history of the patient. Surgery, medicines and diet changes can help treat most menstrual disorders.
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)
Gynaecologic Cancer refers to any type of cancer that appears, first, in the reproductive organs of women.
The common types of gynaecologic Cancers are:
- Cancer of the Ovaries
- Cervical Cancer
- Cancer of the Vulva
- Uterine Cancer
- Cancer of the Vagina
Pelvic Floor Prolapse
This occurs when the various organs in the pelvic floor area such as the bladder, rectum, vagina, uterus and urethra fall due to the overstretched and weak muscles of the pelvic floor that work as a support for these organs. Pelvic Floor Prolapse is mostly common in women that have given birth or undergone some surgery. The early stage of Pelvic Floor Prolapse can be treated with changes in diet, and implementing a work out regime. Moderate Pelvic Floor Prolapse can be remedied with the help of a pessary that keeps the organs in their position and lastly, severe Pelvic Floor Prolapse is treated with the help of surgery.
How Marie Stopes can help you
Marie Stopes is a global leader in women’s sexual and reproductive health. Our conveniently located centres provide professional women’s health services, such as STI and HIV testing. We offer safe abortion services if you have an unintended pregnancy and want to terminate.
We also offer other women’s sexual healthcare services, including pap smears, STI and HIV counselling and testing, and women’s wellness check-ups.