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What Factors Affect Reproductive System Health?

The male reproductive system can be affected by a variety of health issues.
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  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 30 June 2014
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There are various factors that can affect reproductive system health in both males and females. Some medical issues that may compromise the health of the male reproductive system include epididymitis, testicular torsion, and cancer involving the penis or testicles. Issues that may affect reproductive system health in females include polycystic ovarian syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, and endometriosis. Any specific questions or concerns about reproductive system health in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Epididymitis is a medical term used to describe inflammation involving the epididymis, a tube that lies at the back of the testicle and is responsible for storing sperm. The most common causes of this condition include sexually transmitted diseases and bacterial infections, although other factors may sometimes contribute to the inflammation. Pain and swelling are usually the most frequently reported symptoms, and treatment normally involves the use of prescription antibiotics. Surgical intervention may become necessary in order to drain an abscess or remove the epididymis if complications arise.

Testicular torsion can have negative effects on male reproductive system health. The testicles are attaches to a cord, known as the spermatic cord, which extends from each testicle into the abdomen. If one of the testicles rotates around that cord, blood flow to the testicle is disrupted and severe pain ensues. This medical issue almost always requires emergency medical surgery to either correct the problem or remove the affected testicle.

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Penile and testicular cancer are serious problems that may affect the male reproductive system. While treatment methods such as chemotherapy or radiation are sometimes used, surgery is often needed as well. Many men who suffer from these forms of cancer lose the ability to be fertile.

Polycystic ovarian syndrome is a relatively common condition that can affect female reproductive system health. Hormonal imbalances and the development of multiple cysts on one or both of the ovaries are typical symptoms of this disorder. Infertility or an inability to carry a pregnancy to term are potential complications and may be able to be successfully treated with hormone replacement therapy or surgical intervention in many cases. Ectopic pregnancy, or a fertilized egg that begins to grow outside of the uterus, may also occur among those with this condition. An ectopic pregnancy is not viable and requires emergency surgery to prevent rupture of the fallopian tube and preserve the life of the woman.

Endometriosis occurs when cells that normally grow only inside the uterus begin to grow in other areas of the body. Pelvic or abdominal pain, infertility, or irregular menstrual cycles may occur among women who have endometriosis. Treatment may involve the use of over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, hormone replacement therapy, or surgery.

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