What is the Uterus?
The uterus or womb is the major female reproductive organ of most mammals, including humans. On one end is the cervix, which opens into the vagina; and the other end is connected on both sides to the fallopian tubes (forming a Y-shaped structure). The term uterus is commonly used within the medical and related professions, while womb is the more common colloquial usage.
The main function of the uterus is to accept a fertilized egg that becomes implanted into the rich uterus lining called endometrium, and derives nourishment from blood vessels that develop exclusively for this purpose. The fertilized egg becomes an embryo, develops into a fetus and gestates until childbirth.
Due to anatomical barriers such as the pelvis, the uterus is pushed partially into the abdomen due to its expansion during pregnancy. In women who are not pregnant, the lining is shed about once a month if an egg is not fertilized. The shedding is called menstruation.
Diagnosing Uterine Disorders
Symptoms of uterine disorders include but are not limited to:
- Heavy vaginal bleeding
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Irregular bleeding
- Dysfunctional uterine bleeding
- Abdominal mass
- Vaginal discharge
- Bladder dysfunction
What Causes Uterine Disorders?
Diseases and disorders of the uterus can include:
- Fibroid Tumors
- Endometrial Polyps
- Endometrial Hyperplasia (enlargement)
- Endometrial Cancer
- Uterine Prolapse
- Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Menstrual disorders (heavy bleeding, frequent bleeding, post-menopausal bleeding, painful periods or amenorrhea
Treatment depends on the cause of the disorder. Sometimes birth control pills treat hormonal imbalances. If a thyroid problem is the cause, treating it may also stop the bleeding. If you have cancer or hyperplasia, an overgrowth of normal cells in the uterus, you may need surgery. Women with endometriosis may be treated with hormones or surgery, both of which can be taxing on the system and require recuperation.
Help for Uterine Disorders
Nature has long been hailed as the principle guideline for promotion of health in the female system. A wide range of herbal and homeopathic remedies provide tonics for the female reproductive system and all its mechanisms including the uterus. Vitex agnus-castus (also known as Chasteberry) promotes hormonal balance, addresses endometriosis, PMS and painful menstruation.
Chasteberry also helps the liver to process and excrete estrogen. Angelica senensis (Don Quai) is beneficial in the treatment of irregular periods, polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), estrogen dominance and endometriosis.
Don Quai is also a well-known blood pressure regulator while Silybum marianus (Milk Thistle) is a potent antioxidant and laboratory studies indicate it may have useful anti-cancer properties. Dioscorea villosa (Chinese Yam) is an excellent natural liver and nervous system tonic.
By cutting down on the number of calories taken in and being physically active, women can reduce their chances of developing certain life-threatening illnesses, such as heart disease, stroke, some cancers and disorders of the female reproductive system too!
More Information on Uterine Disorders
Women diagnosed with endometriosis should probably visit their gynecologist for a check-up every 12 months. However, if you have any concerns regarding menstrual cycles, urinary problems, or hormonal imbalances, visit your doctor for further investigation.
Here are some tips on healthy eating and physical activity:
- Start your day right. Breakfast gets you going after a long night without food and kicks starts your engine! Easy-to-prepare breakfasts include cold cereal, fruit and low-fat or fat-free milk or yoghurt, whole-wheat toast with peanut butter and whole-grain porridges.
- Get moving! Walk the dog, park your car further from the entrance to the shopping mall, or try joining a walking group with a friend. Try to do these things for at least 30 minutes on most if not all days of the week.
- Snack. Choose wise snacks from different food groups: a glass of low-fat or fat-free milk, an apple, or celery sticks with peanut butter.
- Sweat it out. Regular, vigorous workouts — when you're breathing hard and sweating — improve the health of your heart and lungs, help relieve stress and anxiety, and reduce some of the effects of aging – with the added benefits of releasing impurities for a natural detox!