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11.78: Non-Infectious Reproductive System Disorders

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Why should women perform a monthly breast self-exam?

If you are a young woman, getting in the habit of performing a monthly breast self-exam is a good idea. Lumps or other subtle changes in the breasts may indicate breast cancer. The outcome is typically better if breast cancer is caught and treated early.

Other Reproductive System Disorders

Many disorders of the reproductive system are not sexually transmitted diseases. They are not caused by pathogens, so they don’t spread from person to person. They develop for other reasons. The disorders are different between males and females. In both genders, the disorders could cause a little discomfort, or they could cause death.

Disorders in Males

Most common disorders of the male reproductive system involve the testes. For example, injuries to the testes are very common. In teens, injuries to the testes most often occur while playing sports. An injury such as a strike or kick to the testes can be very painful. It may also cause bruising and swelling. Such injuries do not usually last very long.

Another disorder of the testes is cancer . Cancer of the testes is most common in males aged 15 to 35. It occurs when cells in the testes grow out of control. The cells form a lump called a tumor. If found early, cancer of the testes usually can be easily cured with surgery.

Disorders in Females

Disorders of the female reproductive system may affect the vagina, uterus, or ovaries. They may also affect the breasts.

One of the most common disorders is vaginitis . This is redness and itching of the vagina. It may be due to irritation by soap or bubble bath ( Figure below ). Another possible cause of vaginitis is a yeast infection. Yeast normally grow in the vagina. A yeast infection happens when the yeast multiply too fast and cause symptoms. A yeast infection can be treated with medication.

Bubble baths may be fun, but for women and girls they can cause irritation to the vagina.

A common disorder of the ovaries is an ovarian cyst . A cyst is a sac filled with fluid or other material. An ovarian cyst is usually harmless, but it may cause pain. Most cysts slowly disappear and do not need treatment. Very large or painful cysts can be removed with surgery.

Many teen girls have painful menstrual periods. They typically have cramping in the lower abdomen. Generally, this is nothing to worry about. Taking a warm bath or using a heating pad often helps. Exercise can help as well. A pain reliever like ibuprofen may also work. If the pain is severe, a doctor can prescribe stronger medicine to relieve the pain.

The most common type of cancer in females is breast cancer . The cancer causes the cells of the breast to grow out of control and form a tumor. Breast cancer is rare in teens. It becomes more common as women get older. If breast cancer is found early, it usually can be cured with surgery.

Vocabulary

  • breast cancer :
  • cancer : A disease that causes cells to divide out of control.
  • ovarian cyst : A sac filled with fluid or other material within the ovary.
  • vaginitis : Redness, discomfort, and itching of the vagina.
  • yeast infection : Condition where yeast multiply too quickly and cause discomfort in the vagina.

Summary

  • In males, disorders of the reproductive system include injuries to the testes and cancer of the testes.
  • In females, disorders of the reproductive system include vaginitis and breast cancer.

Practice

Use the resources below to answer the questions that follow.

  1. Testicular cancer is the most common form of cancer for what age group of men?
  2. What is the most common sign of testicular cancer? What is it sometimes mistaken for?
  3. How treatable is testicular cancer? What kinds of treatment are used?
  4. What are the causes of testicular cancer?
  5. What is the highest identified risk factor for contracting testicular cancer?
  1. What are ovarian cysts? What causes them?
  2. Are all ovarian cysts cancerous?
  3. What symptoms can ovarian cysts cause?
  4. When may surgical removal of ovarian cysts be necessary?

Review

  1. What is an example of a common disorder of the male reproductive system?
  2. What is an example of a common disorder of the female reproductive system?

Vocabulary

breast cancer

breast cancer

Cancer causing abnormal growth in the cells of the breast.
cancer

cancer

Disease that causes cells to divide out of control.
ovarian cyst

ovarian cyst

Sac filled with fluid or other material within the ovary.
vaginitis

vaginitis

Redness, discomfort, and itching of the vagina.
yeast infection

yeast infection

Condition in which yeast multiply too quickly and cause discomfort in the vagina.

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Description

Difficulty Level:

At Grade

Grades:

7 , 8

Date Created:

Nov 29, 2012

Last Modified:

Dec 23, 2014
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