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Women’s Health: Understanding Yourself as a Woman

Gynecology is a field of medicine specializing in the diagnosis and treatment of different conditions of the female reproductive system. The common female reproductive health problems as reported by CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) are endometriosis, uterine fibroids, gynecologic cancer, HIV/AIDS, interstitial cystitis, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and sexual violence. Now, let us tackle some of these conditions that greatly affect women’s health.

Endometriosis is a chronic condition of the female reproductive system, often a painful disorder affecting a woman’s endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus, that also commonly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. Endometrial tissues grow outside the uterus such as on and around the ovaries, the abdominal and pelvic organs, and rarely on other parts of the body. The possible causes of endometriosis include family history, retrograde or backwards menstruation and metaplasia. Other possible reasons that may predispose to endometriosis are having first period before 11 years of age, having first pregnancy at an older age, heavy bleeding more than five days, shorter regular menstrual cycles, immune cellular changes, low body weight ad alcohol use. The key factor in the diagnosis and an important symptom of endometriosis associated with the abnormal location of the endometrial tissue is pain. Pain is experienced before and during a menstrual period, during and after sex, or when urinating and bowel movement. Bleeding is also an important symptom in diagnosing endometriosis, which is usually heavy with or without clots, and it may also be irregular, with or without a regular cycle, longer than usual and may happen before a period is due. Other signs and symptoms include bladder and bowel problems, increased abdominal bloating, tiredness, moodiness, reduced quality of life and vaginal tightening and spasms.

Polycystic ovary syndrome or PCOS is a hormonal imbalance caused by genetic and environmental factors, that causes absence of ovulation, high androgen levels and ovarian cysts detected by ultrasound. Polycystic ovary syndrome’s signs and symptoms may include irregular or no menstrual periods, infertility, excess body and facial hair, acne, oily skin, dandruff, pelvic pain, baldness or thinning of hair, and patches of darker, thicker, velvety skin.
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On the other hand, uterine fibroids are the most common tumors that are not cancerous in the childbearing age, where there is an abnormal growth of muscle cells and tissues forming fibroids around the walls of the uterus or womb. Uterine fibroids’ signs and symptoms may include heavy or painful periods, bleeding between periods, feeling of fullness in the lower abdomen, frequent urination, pain during sex, lower back pain and reproductive problems such as early labor, multiple miscarriages and infertility.Where To Start with Resources and More