Women's Sexual Health
Learn all about womens reproductive health
Women's sexual health and fertility rests on the interaction of organs, hormones and genetic factors. Understanding how the reproductive system functions will help a woman to make informed decisions about her body, and knowing what to expect throughout her cycle and may lead to an early diagnosis of a reproductive condition.
Female Reproductive System
The female reproductive organs work together with hormones through each phase of a woman's reproductive cycle to prepare her body for pregnancy. During the first (follicular) phase of the menstrual cycle, the egg is produced in one of two ovaries, the small oval glands that sit on either side of the uterus. The next phase of the menstrual cycle is ovulation, when the egg is released into the fallopian tubes to be fertilized by the sperm. If the egg is not fertilized, it will continue through the cervix at the lower end of the uterus and out of the body during menstruation; if it is fertilized, it will embed in the uterus, where it will develop into a fetus.
Ideally, the female reproductive system will operate predictably—the menstrual cycle will occur regularly, hormonal changes will be expected and each organ will operate in tandem with each other. But in some cases, a condition may affect the healthy operation of the female reproductive system, leading to infertility or difficulty conceiving.
Women's Reproductive Health
Women's reproductive health revolves around the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of any condition that affects the functioning of the reproductive organs. Some conditions are genetic or hormonal, such as endometriosis, which is the deposit and growth of menstrual tissue outside of the uterus. Some women who suffer from endometriosis simply wish to treat the pain, while others are concerned with preserving their fertility; there are a number of treatment options, but the right option will depend on the severity of the condition and the symptoms and goals of the woman.
Diseases like ovarian cancer may be more difficult to spot than a condition like endometriosis, as the symptoms are generally scarce. Although it is a relatively rare disease, if you have risk factors like a family history of ovarian cancer, you may want to talk with your doctor about cancer screening procedures that could lead to early detection.
In any case of disease, abnormal pelvic pain, bloating or bleeding can be a warning sign; if you know how your body functions and feels at each stage of the reproductive cycle, you will be able to notice any changes or irregularities that may require a visit to your doctor.
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