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Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) refers to the infection that occurs in the female reproductive organs. It happens when sexually transmitted bacteria infect the uterus, ovaries or fallopian tubes on spreading from the vagina. Generally, the cervix plays the role of preventing the bacteria from entering the vagina and infecting the reproductive organs. But when the cervix becomes exposed to an STD, it loses its power to put a stop to the spread of these microorganisms to the reproductive organs.
What causes this condition?
STDs like gonorrhea and chlamydia have been found to be responsible for about 90% of PID cases.
Some of the other causes include
- Pelvic procedures
The condition is only detected later in life when you face difficulty in getting pregnant or have chronic pelvic pain complaints. If you experience symptoms like vomiting, high fever, pain in the lower abdomen and instances of fainting, you should immediately seek a doctor.
What puts you at risk for PID?
Certain factors may put you at a higher risk for PID and these are:
- Instances of sexually transmitted diseases like Chlamydia (an STD that can occur from anal, oral or vaginal sex) and gonorrhea (a condition that causes discharge from the vagina or urethra) can make you prone to developing PID.
- Douching on a regular basis can increase your risk of PID as it disrupts the equilibrium of good and bad bacteria in your vagina, and may hide the symptoms of the condition as well.
- Even a previous history of PID can increase your chances of having another episode of PID.
- Compared to older women, teenagers who are sexually active are more prone to developing PID.
- Having multiple sexual partners can also put you at a greater risk for PID and STDs.
Smoking during pregnancy can adversely affect not only your health but that of your unborn too. Kicking this habit can help you to have a safer pregnancy as well as a healthier baby. If not, it can lead to a number of serious pregnancy complications including the death of your baby. According to various findings, smoking during this period can double your prospects of having a baby with low birth weight as well as your chance for stillbirth.
What happens when you smoke while pregnant?
The cigarette smoke is made up of about 4000 chemicals, which includes about 60 cancer causing substances, lead, and cyanide. Of these toxins in cigarette smoke, carbon monoxide and nicotine are the two toxins that make up much of smoking-related pregnancy complication. The toxins go directly to your baby through the bloodstream, the only source of nutrients and oxygen for your offspring. By working in tandem, the nicotine and carbon monoxide toxins bring about a decrease in the supply of oxygen for your baby. While nicotine cuts off oxygen supply by constricting the blood vessels, the red blood cells responsible for carrying oxygen also pick up carbon monoxide molecules and take them directly to your baby.
What effects does it have on your little one?
When you smoke, you put your baby on harm's way and here's what happens to your baby:
- In terms of weight, it has been revealed that while smoking one pack daily can bring about a 226 gm decrease in the baby's weight, smoking two packs every day can affect your baby's weight by about 453 gm. A stunted growth during this period can negatively affect your child later in life.
- Due to the negative effects of the toxins, the development of your baby's lung and body gets hampered. It may also make your baby prone to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SID) and asthma.
- It can also increase your baby's chance of suffering from a heart defect. Research shows that babies whose mothers smoke during the first three months of pregnancy have 20-70% chance of developing congenital heart problems compared to babies whose mothers didn't smoke.
- Smoking can affect the development of his brain functions and cause him or her to suffer from low IQ, learning disabilities as well as behavioral issues.
Related Tip: 7 Dangerous Changes that Smoking Causes to Your SKIN
Gynaecological problems are all the disorders associated with the female reproductive system. These generally manifest themselves in the reproductive organs situated in the abdominal, pelvic and breast areas of the body. A woman age plays an important role in these cases since the problems are generally associated with hormone changes that take place with ageing.
Such disorders are common and in most cases, arise due to an infection or hormone level fluctuation that usually eases in a few days. Many gynaecological problems are potentially life-threatening and may severely damage fertility, and the chances of procreation. Recognition and early treatment of these problems are thus of utmost importance.
Following are the most common symptoms of gynaecological disorders:
- Vaginal bleeding between periods and during/after sexual intercourse
- Frequent and urgent need to urinate or a burning sensation during urination
- Excessive growth of body hair
- Sores, lumps or boils in the genital or breast area
- Severe pelvic pain that differs from menstrual cramps
- Pain or discomfort during intercourse
- Menstrual periods lasting for more than 7 days
- Itching, burning, swelling, redness or soreness in the vaginal area
- Vaginal discharge with an unpleasant or unusual odour, or of an unusual colour
- While vaginal bleeding and discharge are essential parts of the menstrual cycle, if these happen in excess or at unusual times, it becomes symptomatic of a gynaecological disorder.
The signs of gynaecological problems often resemble that of urological ailments and other medical syndromes. Recognising these symptoms and consulting a gynaecologist immediately ensures quick alleviation of the problem.
Ignoring them will lead to several maladies such as:
Vulvodynia - This is the term for disorders of the vulva, whose symptoms include pain, itching, swelling and soreness of the vulva.
Vaginitis - This includes all infections of the vagina, such as herpes, yeast infections, Chlamydia, etc. Problems of the vulva also fall into this category.
Organ failure - Pelvic pain is a symptom of dysfunction in one of the organs in the pelvic area - uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, lower intestines, or rectum.
Cancer - In some cases, gynaecological problems refer to various cysts and tumours in the reproductive system, which could develop into cancer.
Ectopic pregnancy: Causes and symptoms
Ectopic pregnancy happens if the egg implants itself in the fallopian tube in place of the uterus. That's why this form of pregnancy is called a tubal pregnancy as well. Many a time, it may also implant itself in the belly, ovary or the cervix. If the egg is allowed to develop in the fallopian tube, it brings about the bursting of the tube, leading to instances of heavy bleeding.
What really causes this condition?
In this type of pregnancy, the cause isn't always easy to arrive at. In many cases, certain conditions have been found to bring about this pregnancy and these are:
- Damages to the fallopian tubes in the form of scarring and inflammation due to a preceding medical infection, condition or surgery
- Imbalances in the body's hormone levels
- Abnormalities in the genes
- Birth defects
- Medical problems that have an effect on the shape and condition of the reproductive organs and fallopian tubes
- Though it's rare, ectopic pregnancy can occur while using an intrauterine device or system for birth control
- Inflammation of your reproductive system such as pelvic inflammatory disease
How do you know that you suffer from one?
In terms of signs that will help you to easily identify whether you're having an ectopic pregnancy, the initial signs are:
- Light bleeding from your vagina
- Pain in the abdomen or in the pelvic region, which tends to occur after 6-8 weeks of a missed period
The other symptoms of this condition reveal themselves as you progress through the pregnancy and include,
- Dizziness or fainting as a result of internal bleeding
- Shoulder pain brought on by bleeding in the abdominal region
- Signs of shock
- Worsening of pelvic or belly pain
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
Additionally, a person with ectopic pregnancy also experience signs associated with early pregnancy such as:
- Tender breasts
- Missed period
- Increased in frequency of urination
Related Tip: 6 Pregnancy Complications You Need to Know About
Causes of bladder control problems in women
Urinary incontinence is the term used to describe bladder control problems that affect several people. Many think it only occurs among older, menopausal women but it actually isn't uncommon amid young and active women.
Inability to control the bladder accompanied by pain can be symptomatic of various disorders ranging from a minor infection to cancer. Fortunately, bladder cancer is rare, and bladder pain is usually not serious.
The varied causes of urinary incontinence in women are as follows:
- Urinary tract infection: this is the most common cause of urinary incontinence and it affects women more than men due to anatomical factors. It can also happen at any age.
- Medicinal side effect: the inability to control one's bladder may be a result of the administration of certain medicinal substances such as alpha-blockers, antidepressants, sleeping pills and various narcotics.
- Changes in the reproductive system: pregnancy and fluctuations in hormone levels can cause bladder irritation, which leads to urinary incontinence.
- Impacted stool: when stool gets tightly packed in the lower end of the digestive system and rectum, bladder control is affected. Chronic constipation and constraint strain on the lower intestines leads to the weakening of bladder muscles and hampers the bladder control.
- Surgical side effects: temporary loss of control of the bladder is often a result of prior surgery and radiation therapy in the pelvic region.
- Nerve damage and neurological disorders: strokes and spinal cord injuries have a heavy impact on bladder control and amount to urinary incontinence. Diseases such as Alzheimer's disease, Parkinson's disease and multiple sclerosis also lead to the same.
- Health complications: disorders such as diabetes and obesity directly affect the bladder and the ability to exercise control over it.
- Disability and impaired mobility: for women who are physically impaired and suffer from problems of arthritis, urinary incontinence is a major problem as they are unable to reach the toilet easily.
- Bladder cancer: even though it is extremely rare, bladder cancer affects a number of women every year and is treated through surgery and chemotherapy.
Related Tip: What Makes One Lose Control of the Urinary Bladder?
Endometriosis: causes and treatment
Endometriosis is a chronic disorder that occurs when tissues, which form the inner lining of the uterus - known as the endometrium - are found outside the uterus. This abnormal growth of endometrial tissue can take place on any part of the pelvic and abdominal regions such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina, vulva, bladder, etc. Rare occurrences of endometriosis can also happen in the lungs, on the arms, and thighs among others.
There is tremendous research underway with regard to the causes of endometriosis in women as the exact root of its occurrence has not been determined.
The most plausible explanations for the development of this disease are as follows:
1. Retrograde menstruation: the most likely cause of endometriosis, this happens when menstrual blood and tissue backs up into the fallopian tubes and pelvis instead or getting expelled from the body. These displaced endometrial tissues then stick to the pelvic walls and grow on other organs in the region.
2. Endometrial cell transport: endometrial cells and tissues are often transported through blood and lymph vessels to various parts of the body where they start to thrive.
3. Embryonic cell growth: embryonic cells that line the walls of the pelvic and abdominal cavities often turn into endometrial tissue, which causes endometriosis.
4. Surgical scars: endometrial cells often get surgically transplanted to scars in the abdomen and pelvis during surgical procedures such as c-sections or hysterectomies.
5. Immune system disorder: dysfunction of the immune system prohibits the elimination of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
6. Foetal development: endometriosis can occur in a foetus that retains endometrial tissue, which develops into the disease later in life when triggered by pubertal hormones (hormones that trigger puberty).
7. Hormones: endometriosis is stimulated by the hormone oestrogen, which leads to the disease when it reaches abnormal levels.
Endometriosis is a curable condition. The common treatments include:
1. Pain medicines: over-the-counter painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs help relieve the agony of endometriosis and burning menstruation.
2. Hormone therapy: the administration of certain hormones such as birth-control pills and other hormonal contraceptives, as well as drugs that block stimulation of the ovaries are effective in suppressing the development of endometriosis.
3. Surgery: this resorts to only when all other methods of treatment have failed. The initial surgical approach is to remove the extra-uterine endometrial growth. However, some cases might require a hysterectomy with complete removal of the uterus and ovaries.