Untreated gynecological problems can affect fertility. Therefore, women who wish to become pregnant need to be aware of the warning signs and seek medical help at the first signs of discomfort.
Mothers are the epitome of incredible strength and resilience, as are those embarking on the journey of motherhood. However, this journey comes with its own unique set of challenges, including a variety of gynecological issues that can have a significant impact on a woman’s health and well-being. For women wishing to become pregnant, it is essential to be aware of these problems, their symptoms and treatment options to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
doctor Kshitiz Murdia, CEO and Co-Founder, Indira IVF, highlights some of the gynecological problems commonly encountered by women. These are:
Menstrual disorders refer to any irregularities in the menstrual cycle. Some women may experience heavy bleeding, painful cramps, or premenstrual syndrome (PMS). In some cases, hormonal imbalances or underlying medical conditions can cause menstrual disorders, due to which irregular, heavy, or menstrual periods may occur. These problems can cause complications in natural conception. Treatment options depend on the specific disorder and may include medication, hormone therapies, or surgery.
Yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis are two common types of vaginal infections that can cause discomfort, itching, and discharge. Yeast infections occur when there is an overgrowth of Candida fungus in the vagina, while bacterial vaginosis is caused by an overgrowth of bacteria in the vagina. Both types of infections can be treated with antifungal or antibacterial medications, respectively.
Urinary Tract Infections (UTI)
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urethra and cause a urinary tract infection. Symptoms may include painful urination, frequent urination and lower abdominal pain. UTIs are more common in women than men due to the shorter length of the female urethra. Treatment usually involves antibiotics.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
PID is a bacterial infection that affects the reproductive organs, including the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. PID can be caused by sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea. Symptoms may include abdominal pain, fever and abnormal vaginal discharge. If left untreated, PID can lead to long-term complications like infertility. Treatment usually involves antibiotics.
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing pain, heavy bleeding and fertility problems. The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, however, retrograde menstrual flow or backflow of menstrual blood back into the uterus is considered to be the most likely cause of endometriosis. Additionally, it could also be a function of hormonal imbalances or immune system dysfunction. Treatment options may include pain medications, hormone therapies, or surgery. In some cases, fertility treatments may be needed to conceive.
Fibroids are non-cancerous growths that can develop in the uterus, and it has been found that largely 20-70 percent of women in their reproductive years are prone to developing them. They can lead to heavy periods, pain and discomfort. Fibroids have been observed to grow in the presence of female estrogen and progesterone; in fact, when these hormones are available in greater amounts during pregnancy, they increase in size. Treatment options depend on the size and location of the fibroids and may include medication, hormone therapy or surgery.
Cancers that affect a woman’s primary or accessory reproductive organs are called gynecological cancers. They are of five main types:
- Vulvar Cancer It occurs on the outer surface of the female genitalia or on the skin surrounding the urethra, vagina, clitoris, and labia. It may be noticed as an itchy lump in the area.
- vaginal cancer it is a rare type of cancer in the vagina caused mainly by the human papillomavirus (HPV) and can be detected through cervical tests, such as the Pap smear; this looks for abnormalities in the region, such as abnormal cells that can turn into cancer.
- cervical cancer it occurs in the lower part of the uterus that connects to the vagina, called the cervix. HPV is the main cause of this type of cancer, especially when left untreated. Similar to vaginal cancer, it can be diagnosed with the help of cervical screening.
- uterine cancer it could be the more common endometrial cancer that affects the lining of the uterus or the rare form, uterine sarcoma that affects the uterine muscle; the latter is a more aggressive form and is more difficult to treat. It can be detected with a Pap test, transvaginal ultrasound, or endometrial sampling.
- ovarian cancer it affects the tissues of an ovary that is responsible for producing female eggs, as well as the related areas of the fallopian tubes. This type of cancer can cause abnormal discharge, pain in the pelvic area, pain in the abdomen or back, and difficulty eating.
The dangers of untreated gynecological problems
Untreated gynecological problems can significantly affect fertility and may require the use of assisted reproductive technology (ART) for conception.
Dr Murdia elaborates, “Conditions such as fibroids and cervical cancer, if left untreated, can interfere with the normal functioning of the reproductive organs and prevent successful conception. In some cases, surgical interventions or treatments for these conditions can affect the integrity or functionality of the reproductive system, making making options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) necessary to achieve pregnancy. preserve your eggs, offering hope and options for future family planning.”
Being aware of common gynecological problems and their symptoms is crucial for women wanting to conceive to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It is imperative to remember that seeking medical help at the first signs of discomfort or abnormality can make all the difference in achieving a safe and successful pregnancy, she concludes.
According to WHO estimates, approximately 1 in 6 people of reproductive age in the world is affected by infertility. ART interventions such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) have helped millions of couples fulfill their dream of becoming parents. However, these technologies are still largely unavailable, inaccessible and inaccessible in low and middle income countries (LMIC).
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