Sometimes women encounter reproductive health risks. Below are some examples of what can threaten the female reproductive system.
Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) include human immunodeficiency virus/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (HIV/AIDS), human papillomavirus (HPV, or genital warts), hepatitis B, syphilis, chlamydia, gonorrhea, and genital herpes, wrote KidsHealth.org.
When left untreated, STDs can lead to pelvic inflammatory disease, causing scarring or blocking of the fallopian tubes and cervical changes, said LaterBaby.org.
Toxic shock syndrome is an uncommon but life-threatening illness caused by toxins released into the body during a bacterial infection, stated KidsHealth.org. It can produce high fever, diarrhea, vomiting and shock.
According to LaterBaby.org, smoking can have a serious impact on female reproductive health by interfering with the body’s ability to create estrogen. It can also cause eggs to be more prone to genetic abnormalities; is associated with an increased risk of miscarriage; and has been linked to early onset of menopause.
In addition, smoking has been tied to increases in the likelihood of cervical cancer and pelvic infections.
Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to female reproductive health problems including irregular ovulation, amenorrhea, and the abnormal development of the endometrial lining, wrote LaterBaby.org.
LaterBaby.org added that illegal drugs may be universally damaging to female reproductive health. There are even risks to fertility and female reproductive health associated with some legal and over-the-counter drugs. For example, some prescription medications can interfere with ovulation.
Research has shown that exposure to environmental pollutants may pose the greatest threat to reproductive health, warned National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences (NIEHS). Exposure to lead is associated with reduced fertility, while mercury exposure has been linked to birth defects and neurological disorders.