Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition where tissue, similar to the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus, also grows outside of the uterus. The tissue inside the uterus is called "endometrium" and the tissue outside of the uterus is called "endometriosis". The most common places where endometriosis occurs are the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the bowel, and the areas in front, in back, and to the sides of the uterus.

Some women with endometriosis have few or no symptoms while others have pain or difficulty becoming pregnant. There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are several treatment options. The best treatment depends on your individual situation.

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Exercise

Physical activity is any activity that involves major muscle groups, including routine daily activities such as shopping or climbing stairs. Exercise includes any activity done with a goal of improving or maintaining physical fitness.

Physical fitness can be described as the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without excessive fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuits and meet unforeseen emergencies.

Many Americans have little or no physical activity in their daily lives. Approximately 24 percent of adults in the United States do not engage in any leisure time physical activity, while only about 49 percent perform the recommended amount of physical activity (at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity five or more days per week) [1].

There are three main types of exercise:

  • Aerobic exercise
  • Resistance training
  • Stretching exercise

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Genital Herpes

Genital herpes is a common sexually transmitted disease that is caused by the herpes simplex virus. It is estimated that at least one in five adults in the United States is infected with the virus, but many people have no symptoms and do not realize that they are infected.

After getting infected, most people have recurrent episodes of genital ulcers for several years. Although the infection can stay in the body for years, symptom outbreaks become less and less common over time. The infection can be managed with medication and self-care measures.

People who have genital herpes are encouraged to talk to their sexual partner, use condoms, and take other preventive measures to prevent transmission (passing the virus to others). Genital herpes can be spread even when there are no visible ulcers or blisters.

Being diagnosed with genital herpes can be an emotional and distressing experience, and it is important to speak with your healthcare provider about how to manage symptoms and avoid passing the virus to sexual partners. Counseling and support groups can also be beneficial to individuals living with genital herpes infection.

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Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted infection that can affect both men and women. Approximately 700,000 people are infected with gonorrhea every year in the United States.

Symptoms of gonorrhea can include vaginal spotting or bleeding, abnormal discharge from the vagina or penis, and pain with urination. Gonorrhea has potentially serious consequences if it is not treated, but this infection can be cured with antibiotics.

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HIV and Women

Women represent one of the fastest growing populations infected with the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in the United States. While many of the clinical manifestations of HIV/AIDS in women are similar to men, there remain significant gender-based differences in the disease. These include:

  • Differences in viral load early in infection
  • Differences in selected opportunistic infections
  • Difference in selected ARV-related toxicities and side effects
  • A number of female-specific complications
  • Issues related to HIV and pregnancy
  • The psychosocial impact and the environment in which HIV/AIDS occurs in women
  • Access to and receipt of quality care

The epidemiology, clinical complications, and natural history of HIV/AIDS in women, and the care of non-pregnant HIV-infected women in the United States, will be reviewed here. HIV in pregnant women is discussed separately.

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How to Prevent Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are common and preventable causes of morbidity and serious complications. Untreated chlamydial and gonococcal infection may result in pelvic inflammatory disease, which can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and chronic pelvic pain in 10 to 20 percent of cases. STDs can also result in adverse outcomes in pregnancy, including spontaneous abortion, still birth, premature birth, and congenital infection. Finally, the presence of STDs can facilitate HIV transmission. Thus, primary prevention of STDs needs to be given high priority.

This topic addresses issues related to the prevention of sexually transmitted diseases. Screening for sexually transmitted diseases is discussed elsewhere.

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Human Papillamavirus (HPV) Infection

Human papillomavirus (HPV) is a virus that causes cervical cancer and genital warts. Persistent infection with certain types of HPV can lead to cancer of the cervix, which affects more than 10,000 American women every year. HPV can also cause cancers of the vulva, vagina, and anus, although these cancers are much less common than cervical cancer.

Two vaccines (Gardasil® and Cervarix®) are available to prevent infection with several types of HPV known to cause cervical cancer. It is hoped that these vaccines will significantly reduce the number of women who develop cervical cancer and pre-cancer.

This article discusses human papillomavirus and the human papillomavirus vaccine. Articles that discuss cervical cancer, cervical cancer screening (Pap smears), and genital warts are also available.

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Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is a common problem that causes bones to become abnormally thin, weakened, and easily broken (fractured). Women are at a higher risk for osteoporosis after menopause due to lower levels of estrogen, a female hormone that helps to maintain bone mass.

Fortunately, preventive treatments are available that can help to maintain or increase bone density. For those already affected by osteoporosis, prompt diagnosis of bone loss and assessment of fracture risk are essential because therapies are available that can slow further loss of bone or increase bone density.

This topic review discusses the therapies available for the prevention and treatment of osteoporosis. A separate topic discusses bone density testing.

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