Take note of the signs
IT is easy for women to become complacent about tracking the routine biological process of menstruation.
However, the more intimately you know your body cycles, the easier it is to recognise something is amiss and consider the possible health issues affecting your reproductive organs.
Here are some health issues that affect women’s reproductive organs.
Abnormal growth of endometrial tissue forms outside the uterus and may appear on organs including the membrane of the pelvic cavity, ovaries, Fallopian tubes, surface of the uterus and bowels.
Moderate and severe endometriosis will result in the formation of cysts and cause symptoms such as pelvic pain that occur just before menstruation, painful sexual intercourse, cramping during intercourse, cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination and infertility.
Other symptoms that can be related to endometriosis include lower abdominal pain, diarrhoea or constipation, chronic fatigue, irregular or heavy menstruation, painful urination or bloody urine during menstruation.
Uterine fibroids or fibroid tumours are non-cancerous or benign growths of the muscle tissue in the uterus.
However, it is possible to experience abnormal uterine bleeding and, tumours that grow near the uterine lining can cause heavy periods, painful periods, prolonged periods or spotting between menses.
Excessive bleeding can lead to iron deficiency anaemia while large fibroids can result in pelvic pain and increased pressure on the bladder and rectum, causing obstructed urination and painful or difficult defecation.
Fibroids may impair fertility, such as the presence of submucosal fibroids that deform the inner uterine cavity, a scenario that can cause recurrent miscarriages.
It is wise to monitor the size of fibroids as rapid growth may be a sign of a rare cancerous form of fibroid (leiomyosarcoma) that will require a possibly difficult and risky surgery.
Studies have indicated that the presence of fibroids can increase the risk of pregnancy complications such as first trimester bleeding, breech presentation, placental abruption and problems during labour, including during caesarean delivery.
Also known as cancer of the uterus, endometrial cancer is the abnormal growth of malignant cells that comprise uterine tissue.
Risk factors of endometrial cancer are being obese, have high blood pressure or living with diabetes mellitus.
The signs one has to look out for include bleeding or discharge not related to menstruation, difficult or painful urination, pain during sexual intercourse or pain in the pelvic area.
Premature ovarian failure
Also known as primary ovarian insufficiency, this condition affects women before they reach the age of 40, whereby the ovaries stop producing eggs and these women stop menstruating.
Some women will have trouble getting pregnant and the common symptoms are missed or infrequent periods.
Other symptoms that may arise are similar to women reaching menopause, which include hot flashes, night sweats, anxiety and mood swings, trouble sleeping, a lower sex drive and vaginal dryness.
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) PCOS is a hormonal imbalance that can cause irregular periods, the formation of cysts and infertility.
PCOS is known to be hereditary and the symptoms include weight gain, acne or dark patches on the skin, pelvic pain and depression.
Researchers believe high levels of insulin are the root of the illness and that your chances of getting PCOS are greater if you are overweight.
The conditions above are only some of the possible illnesses that are related to the female reproductive system and a rough guide to possible symptoms that you should look out for.
Should you ever experience irregularities in your menstruation or experience any abnormal pain as compared to previous months, it is always the best to seek medical clarification.