Uterus is a pear-shaped organ located in the lower abdomen in between the bladder and rectum. Uterine problems refer to the conditions that affect the uterus Bleeding in between periods and after sexual intercourse may be the first sign of uterine problem. Studies show that more than 70% of the women develop some type of uterine problem, such as fibroids, cancer or abnormal bleeding, by the age of 50 years.
Types Of Uterine Problems
The various uterine problems are:
- Abnormal vaginal bleeding is also called as inter-menstrual bleeding. It is caused due to imbalance in the hormone levels.
- Uterine fibroids are non-cancerous growths that are present in the uterus. It is one of the main causes of heavy bleeding during periods.
- Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the tissues that normally lines the inside of the uterus, start growing outside the uterus.
- Uterine prolapse is a condition in which the uterus protrudes out of the vagina. This is caused due to weak pelvic floor muscles which fail to provide support for the uterus.
- Ovarian cysts are fluid-filled sacs on the ovaries, which are usually painless. However, in rare cases, these cysts may cause complications.
Signs and Symptoms
The common signs and symptoms of uterine problems, which include:
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Abnormal vaginal discharge
- Heavy and prolonged periods
- Increased urination
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Increased menstrual cramps
- Abnormal swelling of the lower abdomen
- Discomfort during bowel movement
- Recurrent urinary tract infections
- Bleeding after sexual intercourse
If the above-mentioned symptoms are observed, immediately consult a doctor. The doctor may perform a pelvic examination to check for swelling in the vagina and would recommend the following diagnostic procedures to confirm the type and severity of the uterine condition that you have :
- Blood tests: Your blood sample can be assessed for the indicators of infection. Increased white blood cell count indicates infection. Increased levels of C- reactive proteins and ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) may be indicative of pelvic inflammatory disease which causes symptoms similar to uterine conditions. In case of abnormal vaginal bleeding, it is important to check for anemia for which a complete blood picture is required.
- Pap smear test: Pap smear is a test performed to detect the presence of abnormal cells in the cervix that may cause inflammation, infection or cancer. In this test, a small sample of the cells from the vaginal wall is collected with the help of a cotton swab. The sample is sent to the laboratory for the test results which confirm the presence of abnormal cells.
- Ultrasound scan: It is a common test used for detecting any problem in the uterus. This test uses sound waves to create a picture of the uterus. Transabdominal and transvaginal ultrasound are safe and reliable tests to identify uterine fibroids. Transabdominal ultrasound helps in identifying the fibroids which are present on the outer wall of the uterus whereas transvaginal ultrasound helps in detecting the fibroids which are present on the inner lining of the uterus.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): It is a non-invasive imaging procedure, which gives a detailed picture of the size, number and location of the fibroids in the uterus.
- Hysteroscopy: Hysteroscopy is a test that uses an instrument called hysteroscope which is inserted into the uterus. This helps in viewing the inside of the uterus and the fallopian tubes to diagnose the causes of abnormal bleeding.
- Hysterosalpingography: Hysterosalpingography is an x-ray procedure which helps in viewing the internal part of the uterus and fallopian tube. This test is usually performed to rule out any blockage in the fallopian tubes.
The treatment depends upon the underlying cause of the uterine problem. The doctor may prescribe medications to reduce the pain and discomfort caused due to uterine problems. The various treatments provided for uterine problems are:
- Hormonal therapy
- Topical medications to relieve pain
- Biofeedback therapy
- Pelvic floor muscle exercise
The various measures that can help to prevent uterine problems are:
- Maintain clean and proper hygiene of the genital area.
- Clean the genital area properly after using the toilet to avoid infections.
- Practice safe sex to prevent the spread of infections.
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- Uterine Problems. https://www.apolloclinic.com/for-patients/services/consultations/gynaecology-and-obstetrics/uterine-problems?/for-patients/services/consultations/uterine-problems. Accessed on 27-10-2017
- The uterus: structure, function and common problems. http://www.familydoctor.co.uk/topic/hysterectomy/hysterectomy-the-uterus/. Accessed on 27-10-2017
- Uterine fibroids. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/uterine-fibroids/symptoms-causes/syc-20354288. Accessed on 27-10-2017
- Uterine diseases. https://medlineplus.gov/uterinediseases.html. Accessed on 27-10-2017
- Pelvic exam. https://www.mayoclinic.org/tests-procedures/pelvic-exam/home/ovc-20336466?p=1. Accessed on 27-10-2017