International Gynaecological Awareness Day is all about empowering people to lift the veil on gynaecological issues by celebrating the beauty that is a woman’s femininity

International Gynaecological Awareness Day is all about empowering people to lift the veil on gynaecological issues by celebrating the beauty that is a woman’s femininity

International Gynaecological Awareness Day is the brainchild of Kath Mazzella, a courageous vulvar cancer survivor who has turned her pain into GAIN and is working hard to ensure that women have the support and the voice they need to cope with gynaecological conditions.

Unfortunately, the list of gynaecological conditions is long but it’s important to understand the differences. Here we take a closer look at just three of the most common.

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus (womb), grows in locations outside the uterus. It irritates the nerve endings of these organs, and interferes with normal functions, causing (often severe) pelvic pain, irregular menstrual bleeding, infertility and sometimes bowel and bladder symptoms. Because it tends to mimic other pelvic, bowel and bladder conditions, endometriosis can take months, or even years, to be diagnosed and properly treated.

Uterine fibroids (fibromyoma)

Also, called myoma or leiomyoma, but most commonly called fibroids. Fibroids grow in the uterus, and are among the most common medical conditions affecting women. Fibroids are almost, always benign (non-cancerous) tumours, which grow from the muscle wall of the uterus.

Fibroids may grow as large as a football, but most fibroids are discovered during routine pelvic examinations. A hysterectomy is usually performed to remove the fibroid, and the uterus; however, the uterus may be preserved in relatively new surgery called a myomectomy.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS)

Regarded as the most common hormonal condition affecting women polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) is a syndrome in which the ovaries become enlarged, and develop fluid-filled sacs, or cysts usually 12 or more. These cysts, within the ovary, resemble a string of pearls, or a pearl necklace.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is the most common cause of irregular periods, is a leading cause of infertility, and is the most common reproductive syndrome in women of childbearing age. Believed to be genetic in origin, and often runs in families. The most effective way to manage this condition is to maintain a normal body mass index (BMI) between 20-25.

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Other common gynaecological conditions:

  • HPV Human Papillomavirus
  • Vulval Pain, Vulvar Vestibulitis Syndrome
  • Pudendal Neuralgia and and Pudendal Nerve Entrapment
  • Pelvic Pain
  • Vaginitis
  • Lynch Syndrome
  • Genital tract infections

Female cancers:

  • Uterine
  • Vulva
  • Endometrial
  • Ovarian
  • Cervical

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For more information visit http://www.gain.org.au/