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Reproductive Health Issues That Need To Be Addressed In 2021

Published on 01/16/21

In 2021, discussing relevant and new topics on reproductive issues is essential for sexual wellness and health. Being aware and educated on research helps us progress and stay up to dates on the most recent guidelines when it comes to reproductive health. 

So, what’s new in the world of reproductive health in 2021? Here we’ll talk about a few new topics that touch on some old topics that we still find relevant today. 

Reproductive Health Topics In 2021

Birth Control Accessibility. One of the methods that healthcare providers have pushed to help prevent unwanted or unplanned pregnancies. Contraception. One of the biggest methods for pregnancy prevention. Today, contraception has become more widely available, not only nationally, but internationally. Organizations have worked over the years to ensure that all families have access to assistance for family planning. 

Aside from access. Education for women is important. Women should have the opportunity to be educated about birth control and other options, otherwise. As well as having access to OB/GYNs and other health experts. This ensures proper health screens too because the pill and other contraceptives do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases and other reproductive health issues. 

HPV Rates Have Increased. The human papillomavirus has become very common. So much that it is said that almost all sexually active men and women will get the virus at some point in their lives. There is no cure for this virus but there are only a few strains that are harmful out of the 40 types of HPV out there. If you have HPV, it’s important to understand what strain you may have, and whether it puts you at risk for genital warts or cervical cancer. 

Because this virus is much more common, getting screening regularly is imperative to reproductive health. While checking in with your healthcare provider regularly and being screened for STDs, ensure you’re being proactive by using proper protection. 

STDs – Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. These STIs should be treated promptly. When Gonorrhea and Chlamydia go untreated, they can cause pelvic inflammatory disease that can lead to an infection of your reproductive organs and cause issues such as:

  • Infertility
  • Blocked fallopian tubes
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus)

STDs – HIV. Although today, we have advanced and powerful medications, there is no cure for HIV. However, this disease can be managed similar to a chronic condition. HIV affects fertility in both men and women, but some people live with it so well that they can and want to have a baby. With a carefully managed pregnancy, parents have the option to have a healthy pregnancy with extremely low odds of transferring the virus to the baby. 

Education on PCOS and Endometriosis is Progressing. Which also means screening for both is improving. For 2020 and 2021 there will be an even larger push to make sure problems surrounding PCOS and Endometriosis are addressed. Many studies have proven that conditions like endometriosis and PCOS go undetected because women’s reports of pain often aren’t taken seriously. While some women diminish their own pain. Thinking these symptoms and pain is commonly every woman’s experience. 

Endometriosis is when the tissue starts to grow outside of the uterus on the ovaries, fallopian tubes or other areas near the uterus. These can cause growths that can lead to painful periods, pain with sex, or pelvic pain between periods.
With past technology, diagnosing Endometriosis took about 10 years. Now, we have groups like the World Endometriosis Organization working with physicians to understand how to screen for conditions like Endometriosis and PCOS. 

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). Most women have no idea they even have PCOS until they try to get pregnant. PCOS is common, and normally related to a hormone imbalance that affects ovulation. Which also can lead to: 

  • Cysts (fluid-filled sacs) on one or both ovaries
  • Irregular periods
  • High levels of hormones that can cause excess body or facial hair

If you have PCOS or need to screen for PCOS, ask your doctor what you can do to conceive and have a healthy pregnancy.

Primary Ovarian Insufficiency (POI). For women under 40, this can be an issue. POI can cause your ovaries to not work like they need to and cause menstruation to stop, or make your periods inconsistent. Women with POI may also deal with:

  • Hot flashes
  • Cranky mood
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Painful sex

Female Sexual Dysfunction. This can be a lack of interest in sex, unsatisfying sex, or painful sex. All are forms of a condition called sexual dysfunction. All which can be a cause of infertility and a result of it. When it’s hard to conceive, or if your sex life is lacking in one form or another, there’s a chance that these things could all be related. Talk to your doctor about your problems, which can help with pregnancy and help your sex life be more fun. 

Women’s Pain Isn’t Taken Seriously. Some conditions go unnoticed. Mostly because of the nature of the pain. However, Endometriosis isn’t the only gynecological condition that can cause pain that interrupts a woman’s life. Other menstrual disorders like premenstrual dysphoric disorder or fibroids can also affect the quality of life for women just like Endometriosis. 

These conditions can go unnoticed because the subjective nature of a woman’s pain still isn’t taken seriously enough. Leaving important symptoms to be dismissed with less effective treatment. Based only on a woman’s emotional state during pain.

Although the medical community is aware and actively trying to address this issue, there are things women can be proactive about and be aware of their reproductive health. If you’re regularly missing work while on your period, or go through a bottle of pain meds in about a week, take into account that you may be suffering from a reproductive health issue.
Talk to your gynecologist and ask questions about how you’re feeling in order to take control of your own health. 

Uterine Fibroids. Fibroids are noncancerous growths found on your uterus. They’re extremely common with no symptoms and found during most pelvic exams. They also don’t contribute to not being able to conceive but may increase the odds of miscarriage, infertility and other pregnancy-related issues for some. If you have fibroids, talk to your doctor about treatment, if needed. 

Products For “Vaginal Health”. The woman’s market is saturated with an excess of vaginal health products. If you go to any grocery store or pharmacy, you’ll find anything from wipes, to washes, to spritzes. As if the vagina needs to be clean all the time. Although research shows that these products are unnecessary and there’s no evidence that women need these products. It’s actually quite the opposite, most healthcare professionals advise against most of these products, specifically douching, which only became popular after the shelves were stocked with douche products across stores in the U.S. 

Most of these products, like douches, claim to be a necessity or benefit to women and their intimate areas. However, some of these products are entirely unregulated which means they are potentially harmful. It’s always best to let the vagina clean itself. If you’re concerned with the state and health of your vagina, talk to your doctor about safe educated decisions about the products you’ve considered using. 

Obesity or Excess Body Weight. Extra body weight may seem like nothing but it does have an effect on your reproductive health. Extra weight can raise your odds of miscarriage, infertility, and productive issues. If you’re struggling with obesity or extra pounds, shedding half your bodyweight isn’t necessary to make a difference. 

Women who were regularly taking fertility treatments and lost about 10% of body weight, had a higher chance of getting pregnant and giving birth to a live and healthy infant in comparison. 

The biggest issue in 2021 when it comes to pregnancy, is COVID-19. Should you wait to get pregnant because of COVID-19?

Although there are potential risks and it helps to think about your health when it comes to COVID-19, pregnancy is a personal choice. Talk to your healthcare professional about the latest information about potential illness and exposure to COVID-19. It will also help to talk to your doctor about a plan when it comes to preventing exposure to COVID-19 during your pregnancy. 

Pregnant women have been known to be a higher risk for a more severe illness and death from COVID-19 than women who are not pregnant. That includes a higher risk for women who already deal with health conditions like obesity and gestational diabetes. Which makes you an even higher risk of severe illness from COVID-19 when pregnant. 

And although it’s rare, some recent studies have shown that COVID-19 can pass from mom to baby during pregnancy or delivery. 

Many women only visit their gynecologist for birth control, a routine Pap test, or a vaginal infection, but gynecology embraces more than routine health care.

For Potential Reproductive Health Issues, Call Rosh MFM In NYC

At Rosh Maternal & Fetal Medicine, the team specializes in women’s wellness and provides expert diagnosis and treatment of all reproductive health issues no matter how routine or complex. They welcome women of all ages, so if you have any questions or it’s time to schedule an annual exam, call their office in the Midtown East area of New York City or book an appointment online.