Women’s Reproductive System Problems
• Menstrual cramps – Lower abdominal pain and throbbing, which can occur either before or after a period may be caused by endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
• Endometriosis – This is the result of uterine tissue growing outside of the uterus. Most commonly, it involves the bowels, ovaries or tissue lining the pelvis. With each menstrual period, this tissue thickens, bleeds and breaks down. This can cause great pain in the pelvic area. If the uterine tissues invade the ovaries, cysts can occur. Surrounding tissue eventually develops scars and adhesions, which are abnormal tissues that bind organs together.
• Uterine fibroids are growths that often appear during childbearing years but that almost never develops into cancer. They do result in pelvic pain, intestinal pain and pelvic pressure, however.
• Adenomyosis – This condition occurs when endometrial tissue exists within and grows into the muscular wall of the uterus. This tissue thickens, bleeds and breaks down like any other endometrial tissue during a menstrual cycle. An enlarged uterus or painful, heavy periods can result.
• Ectopic pregnancy – When a fertilized egg implants itself somewhere other than the uterus, it results in an ectopic pregnancy. It can implant itself in the fallopian tube or other places, causing a life-threatening situation for the woman. Signs of this condition include sharp pelvic pain on one side of the body, typically the side on which the egg implanted, vaginal bleeding, dizziness, and nausea.
• Ovarian cysts – These are fluid-filled pockets or sacs on or within the surface of an ovary. The majority disappear without treatment within months. Symptoms include sharp pelvic pain, irregular menstruation and pain after intercourse.
• Vulvodynia – There is chronic pain in the area surrounding the vagina. It is thought that nerves, tissue and muscles in the area are sensitized to pain signals. Women may find it painful to insert a tampon or have sex, and may feel burning, stabbing, rawness, stinging and irritation.