With the changes in lifestyle and diet preferences, along with the changing environmental conditions, women encounter a lot of gynaecological conditions that might go unnoticed for a long period of time until significant symptoms start to show. However, these gynaecological conditions need medical attention and proper medical care. For this, it is important for women to understand the problem, identify causes, get a proper diagnosis and take effective treatment to manage the gynae problems.
Some of the common gynae problems faced by women today are:
Cervical Dysplasia: This is a precancerous condition that is categorised by the unusual growth of cells on the lining of the cervix – opening between the vagina and uterus. This problem is caused because of infection from a virus called human papillomavirus (HPV) that is transmitted through sexual intercourse. Cervical dysplasia is very common among women under 30 years of age; however, it can develop at any age. Cervical dysplasia often does not show symptoms and can be discovered through a Pap test; in case the condition is not diagnosed timely, it has major chances of developing into cervical cancer. Mild dysplasia automatically resolves over time on its own while moderate to severe dysplasia needs attentive gynae treatment. These can be treated through cone biopsy, LEEP, cryosurgery, electrocauterization, and laser surgery.
Menstrual Disorders: Disorders related to the menstrual cycle are very common among women of all ages. Menstrual disorders are discomforting, painful, and disrupt the normal functioning of a woman.
Moreover, these disorders affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. Some common menstrual disorders include:
- Excessive or prolonged menstrual bleeding
- Absence of menstrual bleeding
- Light or infrequent menstruation
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- Premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD)
Menstrual disorders are caused because of multiple reasons such as hormonal imbalances, cancer, clotting disorders, uterine fibroids, cysts on the ovaries, sexually transmitted infections, and genetics. Menstrual disorders are diagnosed based on symptoms, detailed medical history followed by physical examination such as a pelvic exam, Pap smear, blood tests, hormonal tests, etc. Most of these menstrual disorders can be treated through dietary changes, medications, and surgical treatment.
Pelvic Floor Prolapse: Pelvic floor prolapse is a type of pelvic floor disorder which refers to descending or falling of pelvic floor organs including bladder, uterus, urethra, vagina, small bowel, and rectum. This happens when muscles supporting the pelvic organs get weakened or stretched due to childbirth or surgery. Pelvic floor disorders are diagnosed by the gynae via conducting a full physical examination including pelvic assessment, as well as by analysing symptoms and health problems. Mild pelvic floor disorder can be treated via some lifestyle changes, exercises, and healthy habits. Moderately complicated problems can be treated by placing a pessary to relieve pain and keep the organs in place, and severe cases can require surgery.
Pelvic Pain: Pelvic pain occurs due to an infection or problem with the reproductive system or other organs in the body. Though sometimes, pelvic pain can be without an underlying problem and can happen because of menstrual cramps, ovulation, or gastrointestinal issues. Though chronic pelvic pain is baffling and happens mostly to women with symptoms such as cramping; pressure in the pelvis; pain during sex, bowel movement or urination; and changes in mood. The problem is diagnosed through medical history, health records, sample tests, and a pelvic exam, as well as ultrasound or an MRI. Treatment for pelvic pain depends on case-to-case since it will be targeted at the underlying cause of pain; that said generally pain relievers, hormone treatments, antibiotics, antidepressants, physical therapy, neurostimulation, trigger point injections and psychotherapy can be used as non-invasive forms of treatment. Moreover, in severe cases minimally invasive forms such as laparoscopic surgery or a hysterectomy can be conducted.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS): This is caused because of a disorder in the hormones and is very common among women near or in the reproductive age. Women suffering from PCOS might have prolonged or missing menstrual periods or have more male hormones than female, causing an imbalance. The ovaries might not be able to release eggs due to the formation of multiple follicles in the ovary. The exact cause of PCOS is not known; however, it can be diagnosed based on symptoms such as irregular periods, excess androgen and polycystic ovaries. The gynae will also conduct a pelvic exam, blood test, and an ultrasound to confirm the symptoms for PCOS. PCOS can be treated with healthy weight maintenance through diet and recommended workout. Moreover, to regulate menstrual cycles, the gynae might suggest combination birth control pills and some progestin therapy. Other medications will be given based on the problem such as electrolysis for excessive hair growth.
Uterine Fibroids: A common benign tumour found in women that develops in the uterus most probably during pregnancy and childbearing time. Fibroids can develop under the inner lining of the uterus, within the uterine wall or outside the uterus. Small fibroids are not problematic but large ones can cause a lot of bleeding and extreme pain specifically during periods. More so, abdominal pain, urinary issues, constipation, back pain, infertility, anaemia, etc. are more symptoms of uterine fibroids. Fibroids are diagnosed via symptoms evaluation, medical history study, health record check, and a focused pelvic exam, as well as an MRI or an ultrasound. Surgical and nonsurgical approaches are available to treat this gynae problem.
Urinary Incontinence: In this disorder, a person is unable to control the release of urine. Sometimes, the case is so because of a urinary tract infection and other times, urinary incontinence happens because of problems caused by modifications in bladder muscles and nerves. Urinary incontinence is considered normal with increasing age, especially for women with age over 35. Urinary incontinence can be treated by exercise, medications or surgery if need be.
Menopause: An unavoidable issue in a woman’s life that will occur at a certain point in life. In menopause, a woman no longer menstruates and thus, ceases to be fertile. This is a normal condition and is not a disease or problem as such until it starts to develop problematic symptoms. General symptoms of menopause might occur a year before and last till another year post-menopause. It is characterized by irregular periods, lower fertility, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, night sweats, disturbed sleep, urinary problems, emotional changes, learning problems, hair loss, and breast shrinkage. Menopause is a normal life activity and in case it starts to hamper the quality of life, visiting a gynaecologist is required to maintain comfort; the gynaecologist might recommend hormone replacement therapy and other medications to ease the process.
While these are the most common though not all the gynae problems that women face today. With due caution, proper treatment and attentive care, these health problems can easily be managed to improve the quality of life.