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Mothers are the epitome of incredible strength and resilience, and so are those who are embarking on the journey of motherhood. However, this journey comes with its own set of unique challenges, including a variety of gynaecological issues that can have a significant impact on a woman's health and well-being. For women who want to become pregnant, it is essential to be aware of these issues, their symptoms, and treatment options to ensure a healthy pregnancy and baby.
Dr Kshitiz Murdia, CEO & Co-Founder, Indira IVF, highlights some of the gynaecological issues 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 one may experience irregular, heavy or menses these problems can cause complications with conceiving naturally. Treatment options depend on the specific disorder and may include medications, hormonal 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 the fungus Candida 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.
UTIs occur when bacteria enter the urethra and cause an infection in the urinary tract. Symptoms can include painful urination, frequent urination, and lower abdominal pain. UTIs are more common in women than in men due to the shorter length of the female urethra. Treatment typically involves antibiotics.
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 gonorrhoea. Symptoms can include abdominal pain, fever, and abnormal vaginal discharge. If left untreated, PID can lead to long-term complications such as infertility. Treatment typically involves antibiotics.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside of it, causing pain, heavy periods, and fertility problems. The exact cause of endometriosis is not known however, retrograde menstrual flow or the back flow of menstrual blood back into the uterus is thought as the most likely cause of endometriosis. Moreover, it may also be a function of hormonal imbalances or immune system dysfunction. Treatment options may include pain medications, hormonal therapies, or surgery. In some cases, fertility treatments may be necessary in order to conceive.
Fibroids are noncancerous growths that can develop in the uterus, and it has been found that largely, 20-70 per cent 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 the female sex oestrogen and progesterone; in fact, when these hormones are available in higher quantities during pregnancy, they increase in size. Treatment options depend on the size and location of the fibroids and may include medication, hormonal therapies, or surgery.
Those cancers that affect women's primary or accessory reproductive organs are called gynaecological cancers. They are of five main types:
Untreated gynaecological issues can significantly impact fertility and may necessitate 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 hinder successful conception. In some cases, surgical interventions or treatments for these conditions may affect the integrity or functionality of the reproductive system, making options such as in vitro fertilisation (IVF) or intrauterine insemination (IUI) become necessary to achieve pregnancy. Furthermore, women diagnosed with gynaecological cancers have the option to preserve their fertility through techniques like egg freezing prior to cancer treatment, providing an opportunity to preserve their eggs hence, offering hope and options for future family planning."
Being aware of common gynaecological issues and their symptoms is crucial for women wishing to get pregnant to ensure a healthy pregnancy and delivery. It is imperative to remember that seeking medical help at the earliest signs of discomfort or abnormality can make all the difference in achieving a safe and successful pregnancy, he concludes.
According to WHO estimates, approximately 1 in every 6 people of reproductive age worldwide is affected by infertility. ART interventions such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) has helped millions of couples realized their dream of becoming parents. However, these technologies are still largely unavailable, inaccessible and unaffordable in low and middle-income countries (LMIC).
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