Take note of the signs

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Your Health -

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.

En­dometrio­sis

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

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.

En­dome­trial can­cer

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.

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