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Female Reproductive System Diseases

Endometriosis - a condition involving colonization of the abdominal/pelvic cavity with islands of endometrial tissue. Endometrium is the lining layer of the uterus which sloughs off with each menstruation. If endometrial tissue flushes up the uterine tube and spills into the abdomen (peritoneal cavity), the clots of endometrial tissue can attach to abdominal organs such as the bladder, rectum, intestinal loops and then cycle along with the uterus in response to monthly changes in ovarian hormones. Bleeding into the abdomen irritates the lining membrane, the peritoneum, and causes abdominal pain.

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – although males have a closed abdominal cavity, the female abdominal cavity has a direct anatomical path from the outside world via the female reproductive tract. Bacteria can make their way up the vagina, through the uterus, and traverse the uterine tubes which open into the abdominal cavity. Inflammation of the lining of the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum, causes abdominal pain. Although there are many potential causes of PID, gonorrheal infection is one of them. Chronic Inflammation of the uterine tubes can occlude them resulting in infertility.

Prolapsed uterus – the uterus is almost directly above the vagina. In fact, the cervix, the neck region, of the uterus extends into the upper vagina. Ligaments hold the uterus in proper position so that it does not prolapse or herniate into the vagina. Severe prolapse can result in the uterine cervix protruding from the vaginal opening. Surgical repair is typically required to restore the uterus to its proper anatomical position.

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