Wednesday, October 31, 2007
The uterus is located in the lower abdomen between the bladder and the rectum. The uterus is also called the womb. It is pear-shaped, and the lower, narrow end of the uterus is the cervix. When a woman is pregnant, the baby grows in the uterus until he or she is born.
On each side of the uterus at the top are the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Together, the uterus, vagina, ovaries, and fallopian tubes make up the reproductive system.
In women who have not gone through menopause ("the change" or "change of life"), the ovaries produce the hormone estrogen at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. Estrogen helps to prepare the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) for possible pregnancy. When the uterus is ready, one of the ovaries releases an egg. The egg travels down the fallopian tube where it waits for possible fertilization.
If the woman becomes pregnant, the fertilized egg travels to the uterus where it attaches to the endometrium. If she does not, the endometrium and the unfertilized egg are discharged through the vagina during the woman's next period (menstruation).
Some of the problems that can affect your uterus are:
(a) Noncancerous growths in the uterus, called fibroids, which can cause pain and bleeding.
(b) Endometriosis, a condition in which the tissue that forms the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
(c) Heavy bleeding each time you have your period or between periods.
(d) Hormonal imbalances.
(e) Unexplained pelvic pain.
(a) Fibroids Non-cancerous growths in or on walls of uterus, sometimes on a stalk and varying in size from a pea to a large plum; tend to occur severally rather than singly and may take a few or many years to develop; small fibroids are often symptomless, but large ones can give rise to heavy, prolonged periods (see Menstruation problems), Painful intercourse, and Cystitis (because they press on bladder and prevent it emptying properly); they may also prevent conception, cause Miscarriage or pain during pregnancy, or obstruct delivery; if stalk of fibroid becomes twisted, cutting off blood supply, result is severe pain in lower abdomen.
(b) Endometriosis Condition in which fragments of lining of uterus (endometrium) migrate into fallopian tubes, ovaries, vagina, and even into intestine where, still under influence of oestrogen and progesterone, they engorge with blood every month, irritating and scarring surrounding tissue; condition is most common in childless women between age of 30 and 40, but cause is not known, although selenium deficiency and use of tampons have been suggested.
(c) Heavy periods, dragging period pains which tend to get worse towards end of period (Menstruation problems), difficult getting pregnant, and perhaps Painful intercourse, but severe cases are uncommon.
(d) Prolapse of the uterus or vagina Occurs when ligaments and muscles which hold uterus and vagina in place become weak or slack with age or as result of childbirth, allowing uterus to bulge into vagina and press on bladder or rectum; this causes a heavy, uncomfortable feeling in lower abdomen generally, backache, Stress incontinence or difficulty emptying bladder, or straining and discomfort when passing stools.
(d)Trophoblastic tumours Benign or malignant growths which develop in placental tissue, causing Miscarriage, or in fragments of placenta remaining in uterus after Abortion or childbirth; symptoms are irregular bleeding and severe Morning sickness; diagnosis is by ultrasound scan and by checking urine for excessive levels of HCG (human chorionic gonadotrophic) hormone.
(e) Unexpalined pelvic pain occurs during periods (Menstrual Problems) which may turn chronic if not treated properly in time. Some chronic pelvic pains are diagonised and treated through surgery.
Your doctor may have recommended that you have a hysterectomy or another kind of treatment. Before you decide what to do, it is important that you understand the problem and the different options you have for dealing with it.
The following information can help you think about your condition, learn about your treatment choices, and decide on some questions to ask your doctor.
Keep in mind that every woman is different and every situation is different. A good treatment choice for one woman may not be the best choice for another. That is why you should:
* Talk over your options carefully with your doctor.
* Ask questions until you understand what the doctor is telling you.
* Consider getting a second opinion.
* Work with your doctor to choose the treatment that is best for you.
You Are Not Alone
The first thing you need to know is that you are not alone. About 1 of every 10 women between the ages of 18 and 50 has this type of problem. Usually, the problem can be treated, and the symptoms can be relieved. Most women who have had treatment are satisfied with the results and are glad to be free of pain or other unpleasant symptoms.
The first step in getting relief is to find out what the problem is.