TEN Diseases Of Female Reproductive System – Part 2
6. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS): PCOS is a hormone disorder marked by the production of more than 12 follicles in each ovary or increased ovary volume or a combination of the two. This is usually associated with heightened male features . It often results in infrequent or a lack of menstrual periods as well as decreased fertility. The disorder is linked to obesity and insulin resistance. Management involves lifestyle modifications as well as the use of hormones, antidiabetics such as metformin to regulate menstruation and anti-oestrogens such as clomifene to help regulate ovulation. Anti-androgens may also be of some benefit.
7. Candidiasis: It is a popular infection of moist parts of the body by yeast called Candida albicans. It is commonly found in the vagina where it is referred to as thrush. In the vagina, it causes itching, burning and occasionally the discharge of thick white fluid. It often develops in those who are immunocompromised and those receiving treatment with broad-spectrum antibiotics. It can be treated with the use of an imidazole such as clotrimazole.
8. Vaginitis: This is the inflammation of the vagina which may be due to infection. This is often due to invasion with Trichomonas vaginalis. This may arise due to poor hygiene or dietary deficiency. Often associated with increased vaginal discharge, pain during urination and itching. This can arise from a decrease in the size of the vagina after menopause due to a decrease in oestrogens levels referred to as atrophic vaginitis. It often causes postmenopausal bleeding and dryness. A topical hormone-replacement therapy can be used to relieve symptoms of atrophic vaginitis.
9. Bacterial vaginosis: It arises due to excessive growth of bacteria normally present in the vagina such as Bacteroides. It is characterised by an off-white watery secretion with a fishy smell. Systemic treatment with metronidazole is often effective against Bacteroides species.
10. Toxic shock syndrome: It often arises due to the release of toxins in the body due to invasion by bacteria such as staphylococci that commonly develops when a foreign object e.g a tampon is left in the vagina for too long. This may cause shock, diarrhoea and vomiting. It can be life-threatening if not promptly treated with antibiotics.
The complexity of the female reproductive system can make it tricky to maintain optimum health. Pregnancy, taking part in unhygienic practices and the use of contraceptives predisposes women to diseases of the reproductive tract. It is advised to be vigilant for any changes in reproductive functioning to avoid the development of significant health problems which can affect fertility.