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Beware the threat of infertility: Know your body

By Dr Relehile Ncha

So many illnesses can impact on the health our reproductive system and lead to medical complications such as infertility.

The two most common conditions that can have a great impact on the fertility status of a woman are endometriosis and pelvic Inflammation disease (PID).

Endometriosis is a medical condition where the endometrial tissue that lines the uterus, which is the tissue that bleeds during menstrual periods, is found outside of the uterus. This tissue can be displaced and deposit in the pelvic area, the ovaries, and fallopian tubes and rarely within the abdominal wall. When a woman goes through her menstrual period, the displaced tissues found in other parts of the body continue to act like normal tissue and bleeds during the menstrual periods. The bleeding that occur leads to inflammation and this leads to symptoms such as pelvic pain (lower abdominal pain), severe menstrual pains, abnormal heavy bleeding and pain during intercourse and these symptoms can impact negatively on your quality of life.

When you experience these symptoms, please visit your GP.

If the condition is diagnosed early enough, treatment can make a difference and improve the quality of life and more importantly reduce the risk of infertility.

Another condition that we need to be aware of that can lead to infertility is Pelvic Inflammatory disease (PID). This condition is a result of a bacterial infection, commonly chlamydia and gonorrhoea infections, which affects the reproductive organs of a woman.  The infection can affect the vagina, the cervix, fallopian tubes and can also impact on the lining of the uterus. PID presents with symptoms such as pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, and signs of an infection such as high fever and vaginal discharge that is foul smelling. PID can commonly result in ectopic pregnancies and infertility because the infection can cause inflammation, scarring and blockage of the fallopian tubes and also damage the lining of the womb. When you experience such symptoms, there is treatment available and this is mainly consists of antibiotics therapy and the course must be completed.

So ladies, these two conditions are fairly common and both lead to a serious complication of infertility. There are however ways to prevent these conditions and reduce the risk of complications and it starts with you being vigilant about the health of your reproductive system.

So here are the ground rules:

1. Know your body: Be more aware of what is happeningto your body and your reproductive system so you can recognise changes such as discharges and pain with intercourse

2. Seek help: Be more proactive in seeking medical treatment with any changes that you see in your body- rather be extra careful than regret the delay in seeking help.

3. Play it safe: Change your lifestyle when you are aware of what is happening to your body and practice safe sex