The female reproductive organ includes the cervix, vagina, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and vulva.
Disorders that affect the reproductive organs are common. While many are easily treatable, others might merit a visit to your obstetrician.
Below are some of the most common reproductive issues that affect women:
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue (normally lines the uterus) becomes attached to other organs found in the abdomen.
This condition is common in women between the ages of 30 and 45. Not having children is considered a risk factor. In some cases however, the condition runs in the family.
Endometriosis is very common that it affects as many as 1 in every 5 women that are of childbearing age.
The condition might not manifest any symptoms. However, if symptoms do occur, the severity will often vary from one woman to another. In some cases, the symptoms will depend on the organs affected.
Prevalent symptoms include:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain in the lower abdomen
Oftentimes, several factors are taken into consideration—severity of symptoms, age, and affected organs, among others—when choosing the right treatment option.
In mild cases, treatment won’t be necessary. However, in severe ones, you might need to visit your obstetrician as hormonal or surgical treatment might be prescribed.
Cancer of the Cervix
This condition occurs when there is cancerous growth in the lower end of the patient’s cervix.
Cancer of the cervix is often common in women between the ages of 45 and 65. Smoking, unprotected sex with multiple partners, and unprotected sex at an early age are some of the risk factors.
While very common, it is one of the very few cancers that can be prevented with regular screening. The HPV (human papillomavirus) vaccine can also help protect against the condition.
Sometimes, patients with cancer of the cervix will not have any symptoms. However, in some cases, abnormal vaginal bleeding (especially after intercourse) is observed.
As the condition progresses, other symptoms might manifest including:
- Pelvic pain
- Bloodstained, offensive-smelling, and watery vaginal discharge
Treatment approach will often vary depending on the individual circumstances and the stage of the disease. If the cancer is confined to the cervix alone, possible removal of the affected area might be recommended. However, if it has spread to the other organs, chemotherapy and radiotherapy might be recommended.
The fluid-filled sacs that grow in or on the ovaries are commonly known as ovarian cysts. Most are harmless and noncancerous but in some cases, it may become cancerous.
Common symptoms that signal the presence of ovarian cysts include the following:
- Pain during intercourse
- Change in the menstrual pattern
- Abdomen discomfort
Ovarian cysts may disappear sans treatment. However, the size is often monitored through routine ultrasound scans. Persistent and large cysts are often removed or drained.
This condition is characterized by the inflammation of the vagina secondary to infection caused by the Candida fungus.
Vaginal thrush can recur regularly and is common among women of childbearing age. When a fungus in the vagina known as Candida albicans grows more rapidly than usual, the condition occurs. In some cases, the condition can be attributed to stress. Women with diabetes mellitus are also more susceptible to vaginal thrush.
Typically, symptoms can develop gradually and can include:
- White and thick vagina discharge (cheesy in appearance)
- Severe itching and intense irritation of the vulva and the vagina
If you have been diagnosed with vaginal thrush, you will likely be given an antifungal drug. While vaginal thrush often responds to treatment, there is always the tendency for the condition to recur.