Your reproductive health represents your physical, mental, and social wellbeing. It's about having a safe, satisfying sex life as well as the ability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when, and how often to do so. But having reproductive health issues can interfere with these freedoms and can ultimately affect your mental health. That's why it's important to be aware of the common reproductive health concerns that plague women.
5 REPRODUCTIVE HEALTH ISSUES EVERY WOMAN SHOULD KNOW ABOUT
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus grows somewhere else, including the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the bowels, or on the bladder. This can cause pain, infertility, and heavy periods. Some women with endometriosis have no symptoms at all. So if you're having trouble getting pregnant, make sure you get seen by a doctor to rule out endometriosis.
2. POLYCYSTIC OVARY SYNDROME (PCOS)
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) causes the ovaries or adrenal glands to produce more male hormones than normal. As a result, cysts may begin to develop on the ovaries. Other symptoms include infertility, pelvic pain, thinning hair, and excess facial hair. While anyone can develop PCOS, obese women are at increased risk.
3. CERVICAL CANCER
Most young women don't worry about getting cancer. But cervical cancer can be a serious threat to young women because it's caused by the human papillomavirus (HPV), an STD. Luckily, gynecologists can catch it early with regular pap smears. However, many treatments can cause infertility.
4. UTERINE FIBROIDS
Uterine fibroids are noncancerous growths on the uterus. Uterine fibroids are common and don't usually prevent you from getting pregnant. However, they can boost the chances of infertility, miscarriage, and pregnancy complications. Being African American or overweight are risk factors for uterine fibroids. Symptoms of fibroids include pain during sex, heavy periods, frequent urination, and reproductive problems.
5. SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED DISEASES (STDS)
Untreated sexually transmitted diseases can cause an infection in the reproductive organs known as Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). This can lead to infertility, blocked fallopian tubes, and ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus).
Knowing the common reproductive problems women experience is key to staying informed about your health overall.