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Welcome to the Change the Cycle blog! We’ll be here every week, talking all things below-the-belt health – from heavy periods, to fibroids to pelvic health conditions, and more. We hope you’ll follow along to engage, learn and share with your friends and family.

Gynecological Health Disorders You Should Be Aware Of

by admin
January 24, 2019

Gynecological Health Disorders You Should be Aware of

As a woman, it’s important to have an understanding of gynecological health issues that your doctor may not discuss with you, unless asked about. Menstrual and pelvic health issues affect millions of women, and can ultimately impact how they function in everyday life. Here a few conditions you should be aware of as you get older:

Abnormal Uterine Bleeding (AUB)

AUB – or “heavy periods”- is a gynecological condition marked by heavy, excessive or extended menstrual bleeding.1Heavy periods affect 1 in 5 women2, which means that you probably know someone dealing with the condition. Depending upon the situation, doctors can detect AUB through a few ways: blood work, ultrasound, hysteroscopy, biopsy or magnetic resonance imaging scan.3

AUB reguarly goes untended as most women don’t even know that their heavy bleeding could be indicative of a legitimate medical condition.  However, there are many treatments for AUB and options typically depend upon a woman’s health, lifestyle preferences and potentially the root cause of the condition. Treatments can range from hormonal therapies to minimally invasive surgery to hysterectomy, and more.3 Women should talk with their doctor to find out what treatment option is the most suitable for them.

Uterine Fibroids

According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), up to 80 percent of women will have fibroids by the age of 504, so it’s important women understand what they are and how they can affect their bodies. Fibroids are muscular tumors that grow in the wall of the uterus, and are almost always benign (meaning non-cancerous). Not all women who have fibroids will experience symptom, however, those who do experience symptoms can find them painful, and difficult to live with. Symptoms include menstrual pain, heavy bleeding and pressure.4

Each woman’s case is different, so treatment options vary. OBGYN’s can recommend lifestyle changes, medication or surgery depending on the situation. Surgeries can range from less invasive procedures like hysteroscopic myomectomy and endometrial ablation to more serious surgeries like abdominal myomectomy and hysterectomy.4Women dealing with fibroids should talk with their doctor about identifying a treatment that’s right for them.

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome

Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a common hormonal disorder that typically affects women of reproductive age. PCOS causes women to experience abnormal bleeding due to excess male hormone levels, which may cause the ovaries to develop follicles that fail to release eggs. Symptoms related to PCOS can vary, but are most commonly marked by irregular periods, physical signs of the male hormone, androgen, or polycystic ovaries.5

Women with PCOS typically seek treatment to manage individual concerns as a result of the condition, like infertility, acne or obesity. An OBGYN may recommend a regimen of lifestyle changes or specific type of medication.5

Pelvic Floor Dysfunction

Pelvic floor dysfunction causes the inability to control the pelvic floor muscles. Symptoms of the condition include difficulty controlling urination or bowel movements, lower back pain, discomfort during sex, and muscle spasms in the pelvis. Depending upon a woman’s symptoms, her doctor might recommend a variety of treatments, including kegel exercises, medication, self-care or surgery.6

Talk with your doctor

If you think you may experience one of these conditions, talk to a doctor about your symptoms so you can identify a treatment plan that works best for your body and your lifestyle. And you don’t have to go through it alone – visit ChangetheCycle.com for helpful resources and a community of women focused on promoting positive and healthy conversations about gynecological health.

 

References:

  1. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG committee opinion no. 557: management of acute abnormal uterine bleeding in nonpregnant reproductive-aged women. Obstet Gynecol. 2013;121(4):891-896.
  2. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heavy menstrual bleeding. https://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/blooddisorders/women/menorrhagia.html. Accessed July 05, 2017.
  3. “Abnormal Uterine Bleeding”. Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.webmd.com/women/abnormal-uterine-bleeding#2
  4. “Uterine fibroids Fact Sheet.” Office on Women’s Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Accessed July 31, 2018. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/uterine-fibroids.
  5. Mayo Clinic. Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/pcos/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20353443
  6. “Pelvic Floor Dysfunction”. Accessed December 3, 2018. https://www.healthline.com/health/pelvic-floor-dysfunction#symptoms.
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