11 Major Reproductive System Diseases in Women

The reproductive system in women consists of many parts such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, cervix, external genitals and uterus, but these different parts are also susceptible to many diseases that can harm fertility or lead to further serious illness. Although frequent check-ups and medical intervention can drastically reduce the prospects of damage caused by these diseases, there are still millions of women in America suffer from them every year.

Female Reproductive System Diseases

Below, we will talk about some diseases that occur in the female reproductive system and how they affect women.

1. Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

The abdominal cavity in women, unlike in men, is susceptible to infections and inflammation because it is open to the external environment through the reproductive tract. There is the possibility of bacteria entering via the vagina and travelling up the uterine tubes, thereby causing inflammation. Any infection that follows this path can cause PID. Repeated instances of inflammation can block the uterine tubes and cause infertility.

2. Prolapsed Uterus

The uterus is held above the vagina by ligaments with the cervix (on the uterus) extending to the upper vagina. This support is important to prevent the cervix from sliding out through the vaginal opening, or called prolapsed uterus. Any such prolapse can only be rectified after surgery.

3. Endometriosis and Adenomyosis

Endometriosis and adenomyosis are two reproductive system diseases that are caused by abnormal growth of the endometrium. The endometrium is the tissue that lines the womb or uterus. When this tissue is formed in other parts of the reproductive system like the outside of the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes, the condition is termed as endometriosis. If the growth occurs into the muscles surrounding the uterus, it is called adenomyosis. Since all endometrium tissue is pushed out of the body with the completion of the menstrual cycle, abnormal growth can lead to cyclic pain in the abdomen or pelvis.

4. Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)

Sexually transmitted diseases in women can cause further complications and other female reproductive system diseases like PID. Infections such as chlamydia, syphilis, gonorrhea and genital herpes, if left untreated, will lead to inflammation of the pelvis. PID can scar the fallopian tubes increasing the chances of infertility or ectopic pregnancy where the egg is implanted in the fallopian tube after fertilization.

5. Uterine Fibroids

Sometimes it is possible that tumors grow in the muscular wall of the uterus; however, these tumors are not cancerous. They are called uterine fibroids and can cause increased urination, pain in the lower back, heavy bleeding and pain during the menstrual period, pain during intercourse, miscarriages and infertility.

Surgery and pain relief methods are used to treat this condition. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that around 20 percent of women younger than 50 years of age develop such tumors.

6. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

This syndrome is caused when the ovaries produce high levels of a particular class of hormones, namely androgens. This increase in hormone levels can hamper the ovulation process and lead to cysts on the ovaries. It can also cause infertility by affecting the release of the ovarian egg in the menstrual cycle. Some symptoms are hair loss, acne, pain in the pelvic region, oily skin, and increases in facial or body hair growth.

There is no cure for this female reproductive system disease yet, but the hormone production can be controlled and skin cleared up with hormone therapy.

7. Vulvovaginitis

Vulvovaginitis is a term given to the infection and subsequent inflammation of the tissues of the vulva or the vagina. This can be due to many reasons such as poor hygiene, sexually transmitted diseases, viruses, yeasts and bacteria. The occurrence of a malodorous vagina, unexpected vaginal discharges, irritation and inflammation around the vagina, and difficulties during urination can indicate the presence of vulvovaginitis.

Topical or oral medication with antibiotic or antifungal properties can be used to remedy this.

8. Female Infertility

Difficulty in conceiving a child after trying for a considerable period of time can indicate infertility. Irregularities in the duration of the menstrual cycle or its absence can indicate a lack of ovulation. The reasons for infertility are varied and can be caused by other female reproductive system diseases. Ovulation disorders such as irregularities in the production of hormones or problems in the ovary account for 25% of infertility cases. Endometriosis, damage to the fallopian tubes, the uterine tubes or cervix can also cause infertility.

There are different methods to induce pregnancy such as with fertility drugs, surgery or a way to assist the fertilization of the egg. 

9. Ovarian Cysts

The two ovaries in a woman are used to develop and mature the ova during the menstrual period. It is possible for cysts to form on the external or internal surface of the ovaries. These cysts are filled with fluid and are not particularly harmful.

This happens frequently and generally disappears over time without the need for any treatment. However it is possible in some cases for these cysts to become a serious problem with the occurrence of ovarian torsion or rupture. It is important to schedule regular check-ups of the pelvis to help identify harmful cysts at an early stage.

10. Ovarian Cancer

This type of cancer starts within the ovaries and can propagate inside the pelvis and abdomen. Some symptoms are constipation, regular urination urges, pain in the pelvic region, loss of weight and abdominal bloating. The chances of occurring are higher in people who have a family history of Lynch syndrome, breast or ovarian cancer.

Though it is difficult to detect, it is easier to treat the cancer when it is confined to the ovaries.

11. Female Sexual Dysfunction

Female sexual dysfunction, while not one of those typical female reproductive system diseases, occurs when a person fails to be stimulated during sexual intercourse. Other accompanying symptoms may include reduced sexual desire, difficulties in arousal, anorgasmia and pain during intercourse.

The treatment depends on the factor causing it. Techniques to enhance genital stimulation, reduce pain during intercourse, promote physical familiarity and distract the partner can be used to remedy the situation.

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