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7 Most Common Female Reproductive Health Issues

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7 Most Common Female Reproductive Health Issues

Female reproductive health is a paramount area of concern when it comes to women's health. From puberty to menopause, women's bodies fluctuate in hormones and bodily changes, primarily dictated by reproductive wellness. This includes internal and external organs that make up the reproductive system. Like all areas of health, reproductive health is impacted by your mental, emotional, and social contexts of life. When looking to support and care for issues pertaining to reproductive health, it's advantageous to seek integrative medicine so you can receive holistic approaches that best serve you.


What is Female Reproductive Health?

According to the WHO, female reproductive health is the complete well-being of the functions and processes that comprise the female reproductive anatomy. This includes physical, mental, and social aspects, with the idea that health is not just the absence of disease or dysfunction. Female reproductive health entails self-governing and safety around sex and reproduction.

What are The Most Common Female Reproductive Health Issues?

Organs of the female reproductive system include the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, vagina, and vulva. Secondary organs involved in functionality and hormonal processes include the thyroid, adrenal glands, hypothalamus, and pituitary gland. When these systems work synergistically and optimally, your sexual and reproductive viability is on your side. When imbalances occur, inflammation is present, or disease processes are occurring, these are some of the most common issues that arise in female reproductive health:

1. Sexual Dysfunction

Lack of desire, diminished response, or pain during sex all contribute to sexual dysfunction. This can occur at any point in a woman's reproductive years, fluctuating with seasons of life and situations. Since sexuality is more than just physical, it's important to note that issues can arise from hormonal origination, psychological, or social factors. The leading condition in female sexual dysfunction is a low libido which can be a result of many medical and lifestyle implications. Understanding what impacts your sex drive, such as mental state, nutritional needs, intimacy requirements, and rest, are all great starting points in optimizing your health.

2. Infertility

In the United States, 1 in 5 women of reproductive age are unable to conceive after one year of trying. The literature shows that there are five main causes of infertility in women. These include hormone imbalances, ovulatory disorders, uterine and cervical issues, infections, structural issues, or unexplained infertility. The ovulatory condition, Premature Ovarian Insufficiency (POI), is a leading cause for concern. Around age 40, your ovaries decrease in egg production, which is a natural process. Some women can have a premature decrease and, therefore, early onset infertility.

3. Fibroids

Leiomyomas, also known as uterine fibroids, affect 8 out of 10 women at some point in their lifespan. These present as noncancerous growths on the inside or outside of the uterus. Although this condition is present in many women, most are asymptomatic. Other women do have serious and debilitating symptoms, some of which can lead to infertility.

4. Endometriosis

This painful cyclical condition is a major concern in female reproductive health. Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue, the tissue that is meant to line the uterus, is found outside the uterus. This tissue has been known to invade the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, rectum, and abdominal cavity. As hormones fluctuate in preparation for implantation or menses, the endometrial tissue (inside the uterus and outside) will shed. All the non-intrauterine tissue shedding will cause intense inflammation, pain, and debilitating lifestyle ramifications.


Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome affects about 1 in 10 females of childbearing age. This reproductive health condition wreaks havoc on metabolism and hormone regulation. Women with PCOS have higher rates of infertility, menstrual irregularities, and endometrial hyperplasia.

6. Interstitial Cystitis

Bladder pain syndrome, better known as Interstitial Cystitis (IC), causes chronic pain in the bladder and pelvic region of impacted women. If you have IC, you'll be all too familiar with the constant urge to urinate and flare-ups of pain in the pelvis.

7. Sexually Transmitted Diseases

Around the world, many women are suffering from STDs. In the United States, we have healthcare opportunities that can address many of these and treat them before progression occurs. There are times when STDs can cause complications such as PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease). According to the CDC, 3.7% of women between the ages of 14-49 have been treated for PID. Other STD-related conditions to keep in mind are cervical cancer and HIV.

Functional Medicine Labs That Can Help Determine The Root Cause of Common Female Reproductive Health Issues

An integrative health practitioner will look at your symptom picture in conjunction with your overall health. Ordering labs will aid in diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to assist you in achieving your health goals. Here are some common labs that will give valuable insight into female reproductive health issues.

Annual Labs

Yearly labs are an objective way to follow your health journey or ensure a health condition is not worsening. These labs include a Complete Blood Count (CBC), a Comprehensive Metabolic Panel (CMP), a Lipid Panel, and a Urinary Analysis (UA). These baseline labs will reveal how your liver, kidneys, and blood sugar is looking. A lipid panel will reveal if there are any cholesterol issues, which can impact hormone health, and a UA will provide insight into urinary tract infections and kidney function. These tests are a starting point for practitioners to determine if and what further testing is necessary.

Hormone Panel

DUTCH Cycle Mapping Plus by Precision Analytical or Comprehensive Plus Profile by Doctor’s Data are options to evaluate sex hormones. DUTCH testing will look at hormones throughout your menstrual cycle to give deep insight as to what imbalances are present. It also tests cortisol, which is our stress hormone and can greatly influence hormone health.

Fertility Evaluation

If infertility is the primary concern, getting an Anti-Mullerian Hormone (AMH) test will help determine egg reserve. This blood test will aid in determining the root cause of infertility and provide insight into your reproductive health.

Comprehensive Thyroid Panel

Your thyroid function can impact many areas of your reproductive health, including the ability to conceive, sex hormone imbalances, and overall inflammation. Getting a comprehensive Thyroid Panel will determine if there is any thyroid dysfunction or autoimmune thyroid conditions that are negatively contributing to your reproductive health.

Micronutrient Testing

The body uses vitamins, minerals, fatty acids, and various other nutrients for every biochemical process in the body. Many conditions related to reproductive health could be impacted if your micronutrient status is not up to par. SpectraCell's Micronutrient Test will evaluate 31 micronutrients to give the best depiction of nutrients available for use.

Gut Health

Conditions like PCOS and Interstitial Cystitis (IC) can be negatively impacted by a dysfunctional gut microbiome. Evaluating the microbes present in the intestines through a Comprehensive Stool analysis can help rule out any pathogenic involvement in these conditions.

Toxin Panels

Environmental toxin exposure is of increasing concern in regard to endocrine disruption. Chemicals like Phthalates have been revealed to contribute to endometriosis and hormone health. Toxins create a total body burden that affects our innate detox capabilities. Investigating environmental toxicity through an Environmental Pollutants Profile test can provide context to exposures that are impacting your reproductive health.

Other Lab Test to Check

Gynecological Exam

The U.S Preventive Services Task Force recommends women get a pelvic exam every three to five years or if symptomatic for reproductive organ conditions. During a pelvic exam, your doctor will get a visualization for any abnormalities present and will do a pap smear which can give provide insight into STD-related conditions like PID.


Imaging is also important. A pelvic ultrasound would be the first line of investigation for many of the above-mentioned conditions. Depending on those results, an MRI, hysteroscopy, cystoscopy, or hysterosalpingography may be necessary.

Additional Labs to Consider:

Inflammatory markers hs-CRP and ESR can determine if chronic inflammation is contributing to your reproductive health. An Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) test is also relevant if screening for autoimmunity, which can be a causative factor for interstitial cystitis and hormone dysfunction.

Lastly, CA-125 is a non-invasive and specific test in the diagnosis of endometriosis. If your doctor suspects this is the cause of your reproductive health issues, getting a CA-125 can be helpful in addressing the root cause.

Integrative Medicine Treatment for Female Reproductive Health Issues

Creating an integrative medicine plan that best supports your reproductive and overall health is the ideal road to healing. Looking at all aspects that make up health, including nutrition, lifestyle, and CAM therapies, is a great holistic approach. Here are some ways you can address your reproductive health concerns.

Nutrition for Female Reproductive Health

Women thrive when their bodies are appropriately nourished. While female reproductive health conditions can not solely be addressed by nutrition, this is always a great starting place. Depending on your unique needs, taking an integrative nutrition approach may best suit you. Other approaches to nutrition may be more specific if you are looking to address autoimmunity, insulin resistance associated with PCOS, or you are trying to decrease inflammation. Working with a healthcare professional who understands nutrition and healing through food is best.

Exercise for Female Reproductive Health

Physical activity is vital in maintaining optimal health. Implementing an exercise routine into your life can help keep inflammation at bay, improve insulin sensitivity, support a healthy weight, and enhance fertility.

Botanical Medicine for Female Reproductive Health

Chasteberry (Vitex) is one of the most commonly used botanicals in female reproductive health. Studies have shown it to be beneficial for hormonal balancing and as a treatment modality for PCOS, fibroids, and endometriosis.

The EGCG component of the plant Camellia sinensis, also known as Green Tea Extract (GTE), has promising results in reducing the size of uterine fibroids. GTE has also been shown to be beneficial in modulating hormones, blood sugar, and glycemic index in women with PCOS.

Curcumin is an active constituent of Turmeric, which has long been known for its anti-inflammatory benefits. Research reveals that it has therapeutic benefits in treating PCOS, interstitial cystitis, endometriosis, and uterine fibroids.

Vaginal Steaming for Female Reproductive Health

This traditional therapy has been used for centuries to nourish female reproductive organs. A vaginal steaming treatment involves sitting or squatting over a steam bath infused with botanicals. Historically, these practices have been used to help detoxify, improve fertility, balance hormones, and recover after childbirth. While there is little scientific evidence, the WHO conducted a multi-country study looking at the use of this practice around the world and found that it is common traditional therapy.

Acupuncture for Female Reproductive Health

This Traditional Chinese Medicine practice is a great contributor to integrative medicine and has an abundance of benefits in treating women's reproductive health concerns. Studies have shown that acupuncture can improve reproductive function, and a good herbal-acupuncture combo therapy for PID treatment exists. Studies in regard to PCOS have also seen promising results with the use of electroacupuncture as part of fertility care.

Chiropractic Manipulation for Female Reproductive Health

Chiropractic care is a great complementary option when managing chronic pain and conditions where the autonomic nervous system is involved. A small case study found that there is some correlation between interstitial cystitis and pelvic-lumbar spine dysfunction. These patients saw improvements in pain after multiple chiropractic treatments. Spinal manipulation is also recommended by the American Pregnancy Association to help balance the nervous system for optimal fertility.


Caring for women's reproductive health is of utmost importance in society, as women's health is heavily intertwined with reproductive wellness. I believe that expanding integrative care and research into these health issues will only enhance treatment options for female reproductive health. Prevention is also key in this field. Seeking guidance from a women's health specialist to address any new or existing symptoms, obtaining all the appropriate labs, and working with your provider on an individualized treatment plan can reverse the disease process and prevent further progression.

The information provided is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice. Always consult with your doctor or other qualified healthcare provider before taking any dietary supplement or making any changes to your diet or exercise routine.
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