Women’s Health: Common Diseases, Symptoms and Treatment
Mastopathy, inflammation of the appendages, candidiasis are the most common female diseases. Unfortunately, not every woman knows how to cope with these ailments correctly and without damage to her health. In this article, we will tell you what to do and what NOT to do when “female” problems arise.
Types of gynecological diseases
According to statistical studies, up to 60% of women of reproductive age suffer from gynecological diseases, but experts suggest that in reality this percentage is much higher. Common diseases of this group include inflammatory processes of the uterus and appendages, menstrual irregularities and endometriosis. Infections of the genital tract are also frequent. The reason for such a frightening situation is not sexual licentiousness. Doctors complain about the widespread deterioration of the women’s health as a whole, and the lifestyle of an active modern woman with endless stress, overwork, and often inadequate physical activity aggravates this situation.
Diseases of the female genital area can be divided into the following groups:
- Infectious. Sexually transmitted infections become the cause of unpleasant symptoms and impaired reproductive function in women: chlamydia, trichomoniasis, gonorrhea, candidiasis, and others. As a rule, they proceed in a latent form, so it is important to regularly visit a gynecologist, taking a smear for microscopic examination;
- Endocrine. Violation of the functioning of the endocrine glands — the pituitary, adrenal glands, ovaries, and others — can affect a woman’s ability to conceive, the quality of her sex life, and even her appearance. Such diseases can be either congenital or acquired (polycystic ovary syndrome, hyperprolactinemia). Recently, this group is increasingly attributed to obesity, which can lead to menstrual irregularities and infertility;
- Tumor neoplasms. Benign and malignant tumors are often diagnosed in women, both young and old. Modifications of the cervix of the uterus also belong to this group. The tumor – even a malignant one – is not yet a sentence, but it is important not to miss its detection at the earliest possible stage. This is another argument in favor of a regular preventive examination by a gynecologist, especially for patients with burdened heredity for ovarian, body and cervical cancer.
Symptoms of gynecological diseases
Typically, a disorder in the genital area can be suspected if a woman has at least one of the following symptoms:
- Menstrual disorder is manifested by the absence of menstruation, the change in the nature and duration of bleeding, unusually heavy periods (when a woman is forced to change pads or tampons more often using hygiene products with an increased absorption volume) and “breakthrough” bleeding in the middle of the cycle. Similar manifestations are characteristic of many gynecological diseases of endocrine and tumor nature;
- Pain. Acute pain is a likely sign of a life-threatening condition: for example, ovarian apoplexy (rupture), which requires urgent hospitalization. Aching pain, as a rule, worries a woman during menstruation, in other cases – during intercourse. Such a symptom often accompanies inflammatory processes in the vagina, uterus and appendages;
- Pathological discharge: brown, milky white, yellowish, foamy, purulent, with an unpleasant or unusual smell, vaginal discharge is always a cause for concern. If you notice strange discharge on your underwear, as well as the complete absence of any discharge except for menstrual blood during the cycle (dry vaginal syndrome), make an appointment with a gynecologist;
- Itching occurs in various pathologies of the female genital area. In combination with abundant white discharge, this symptom occurs with thrush (vaginal candidiasis).
Treatment of gynecological diseases
Modern gynecology provides extensive opportunities for the treatment of diseases of the genitourinary system, including severe pathologies that affect the general condition of the patient. The basic element of any therapy is the prescription of medicines, however, in addition to them, the patient may be offered to undergo physiotherapeutic treatment or to undergo surgery.
Gynecological pharmaceuticals are prescribed in the form of tablets and capsules, suppositories, injections, ointments and other dosage forms. Depending on the nature of the problem, the doctor will prescribe the following groups of drugs to the patient:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) – ibuprofen, diclofenac, indomethacin and others – are prescribed to relieve inflammation in urogenital infections, as well as painkillers for painful menstruation;
- Antibiotics, antiseptics, antifungal and antiviral drugs help in the treatment of infectious gynecological diseases, as well as their consequences. For example, for the treatment of genital warts, doctors prescribe antiviral drugs that destroy the causative agent of the disease – the human papillomavirus (HPV);
- Hormonal drugs serve both for the treatment of endocrine disorders in gynecology and as powerful anti-inflammatory drugs (steroid hormones) that prevent the formation of adhesions in the abdominal cavity during diagnostic and surgical procedures. In addition, a gynecologist may prescribe synthetic oral hormone-based combined contraceptives to prevent unwanted pregnancy, and a number of hormonal drugs in the treatment of infertility;
- Vitamin preparations are often prescribed to women as an adjuvant that helps to restore the body with various gynecological diseases. Also, the doctor may prescribe medications that normalize the level of iron in the patient’s body – this may be required after chronic blood loss (for example, with heavy long periods).
Physiotherapy for gynecological diseases
The use of apparatus physiotherapy occupies an important place in the arsenal of each reputable gynecological clinic. In some cases, these methods avoid surgical treatment of certain diseases of the genital organs in women.
- Cryodestruction is an exposure to tissues at a low temperature (freezing a pathological lesion with liquid nitrogen). This approach has proven effective in ectopia and cysts of the cervix, condylomas, chronic cervicitis, and other diseases;
- Chemical destruction has a similar effect in the treatment of ectopia (erosion) of the cervix, its cysts and polyps of the cervical canal. However, the use of special chemical substances, in contrast to cryodestruction, is usually indicated for nulliparous patients;
- Radio wave therapy is considered a gentle alternative to surgery: exposure to radio waves heats the tissue, destroying pathological areas without the risk of bleeding and inflammation. This method is also suitable for treating erosion in women planning a pregnancy;
- Laser therapy is a technique that has proven effective in various gynecological diseases. So, laser exposure courses are used in intimate plastic, when it is necessary to restore the elasticity of the walls of the vagina after childbirth.
You should not be afraid of surgery for gynecological diseases: most manipulations on the genitals are performed laparoscopically – through punctures in the anterior abdominal wall and the vaginal wall. This approach does not require a long recovery period and does not leave gross aesthetic defects on the patient’s body.
What you should NOT do?
The main mistake is to wait that the symptoms go away on their own. The modern rhythm of life often leaves no time for a visit to the doctor. However, putting the problem into a long box does not bode well for you.
Unfortunately, not all women are regularly examined by a doctor, and they seek help only when it becomes impossible to endure the symptoms.
The second big mistake is treatment without consulting a doctor. Such self-medication can be detrimental to your health, especially when it comes to procedures involving the introduction of any medicines into the vagina. You can disrupt the microflora of the vagina or cause injury to yourself, thereby harming your health.
How to prepare for a visit to the gynecologist?
Before visiting a gynecologist, you should take a shower, as well as:
- do not use vaginal suppositories, creams and tablets;
- in some cases, you need to stop taking antibiotics and antiviral drugs – this should be agreed with a doctor first;
- exclude sexual intercourse 2-3 days before visiting the gynecologist;
- if it is necessary to take tests, it is recommended not to urinate before visiting a doctor for 1.5 hours.
Ultrasound of the pelvic organs is performed with an empty bladder, and the study of hormonal status – on certain days of the menstrual cycle. The doctor should give you instructions.
How to select a gynecologist?
A professional gynecologist is popular among patients, has a diploma in specialty and is constantly learning new things in his or her profession. This specialist is also a good psychologist who can talk with a woman in the right manner. Choose a doctor who can correctly ask questions and listen to answers. If the gynecologist immediately suggests proceeding to the examination without collecting an anamnesis, you do not need such a specialist.
In addition, a good doctor will always try to explain to the woman the essence of the diagnosis and prescribed therapy, leaving her the right to choose. Unambiguous solutions are very rarely observed in medicine, as a rule, there are alternatives for choosing more or less expensive examinations and drugs. A conscientious gynecologist who values his or her profession will never insist on the most expensive treatment methods if they are not suitable for the patient.
Prevention of gynecological diseases
Prevention of female diseases is always more effective than any therapeutic measures. Therefore, doctors recommend that women seriously approach the prevention of gynecological pathology. The tips are simple – you must definitely use the barrier method of contraception (this will protect you from infections, unwanted pregnancies, and subsequent abortions), dress according to the weather, protect yourself from stress and carefully approach diets designed for weight loss.