Acting as a temporary “home” for a developing fetus, the Uterus is responsible for providing an embryo with a nurturing, safe, and nourishing environment. Also known as the womb, Uterine health is required for women to experience a healthy reproductive experience.
The Responsibilities of the Uterus
Located in the lower portion of the abdomen, between the rectum and the bladder, the Uterus is an oval shaped organ with a narrow lower end. The narrow lower / bottom portion of the Uterus is the Cervix. As the Uterus must be able to foster a safe environment for a developing fetus, the Cervix remains shut during pregnancy, allowing a woman's Uterus to support the developmental processes. When a baby is ready to be delivered, a woman's Cervix will open several centimeters. Often called “dilation,” as the Cervix opens, a woman is able to push her baby out of the Uterus and down through the Vagina.
The Uterus and Fertility
As the Uterus is an integral part of a woman's reproductive abilities, the women who are facing difficulties becoming pregnant may want to ask their doctor about the health of their Uterus. Potential Uterine problems that can negatively impact a woman's ability to become pregnant typically include:
- Fibroid growths, which are non-cancerous growths that often cause pain and bleeding
- Endometriosis, wherein the nourishing lining, which is supposed to attach itself to the interior Uterine walls, forms outside of the Uterus.
- Heavy menstruation patterns, wherein women experience uncommonly heavy periods or frequent bleeding between periods
- Hormonal imbalances can also influence a woman's Uterine functioning and fertility
With these, as well as other potential symptoms and factors, women who are experiencing Uterine complications or painful conditions should meet with their OBGYN to find out about the various treatment options. While each woman will need to respond to her Uterine issues uniquely, as a treatment can drastically impact a woman's life, there are generally multiple avenues that can offer various forms of solutions. Before making a decision about how to treat a condition associated with the Uterus, a woman should engage in imperative self-advocacy steps:
- Ask an OBGYN about all available treatment options
- Ask any and all questions carefully with one's OBGYN, while also repeating back information to ensure that a woman clearly understands the doctor's suggestions / information
- Seek a second opinion by meeting with another respected OBGYN. Before making any major medical decision, it is typically wise to seek out an additional exam from another trusted doctor.
Treatments for Serious Uterine Problems
In the somewhat rare case a woman is experiencing dangerous health conditions in her Uterus, a doctor may suggest that a woman undergoes a hysterectomy. A hysterectomy, in its basic definition, involves removing the Uterus from the body; however, there are different forms of this surgery, as some hysterectomy operations also remove the Ovaries and / or other reproductive parts. Women who undergo hysterectomy operations are typically able to resume their regular lifestyles without any complications; however, undergoing a hysterectomy causes infertility.