or gynecological illnesses, diseases associated with the anatomical and physiological characteristics of a woman’s body. They may arise from infection, trauma, intoxication, chemical and thermal effects, neurohormonal disturbances of the menstrual cycle, the emergence of neoplasms, or anomalies of location and developmental defects of the sex organs.
Pathological changes and manifestations in the female sex organs influence the woman’s entire body. And, conversely, a number of general diseases (infectious, nervous, endocrine, or of the blood) may produce disturbances in the sexual sphere. The most frequent disorders during a woman’s period of sexual maturity (on the average from 20 to 50 years) are inflammatory processes (of the vagina, vaginitis; of the womb, endometritis; of the fallopian tubes, salpingoophoritis). The vagina of a healthy adult woman is always populated by various microorganisms, which in ordinary circumstances are not harmful. In most cases inflammatory diseases of the female sex organs are caused by streptococci, staphlococci, gonococci, trichomonads, enteric and tubercle bacilli, and sometimes by the bacilli of diphtheria, the thrush fungus, and other agents.
Inflammatory processes may arise in the female sex organs during general toxicoinfectious diseases (influenza, angina, typhus), when microbes are carried from remote primary foci of other organs through hematogenic or lymphogenic path-ways. With timely and correct treatment an inflammatory process may terminate in recovery. Otherwise cicatricial changes occur in the tissues, adhesions and accretions form, and the disease becomes chronic. A prolonged course and frequent exacerbations of inflammatory diseases of the internal sex organs often entail disturbance of child-bearing and menstrual functions.
A very considerable group of women’s diseases are manifested by disturbances of menstrual function. These disturbances may be produced by various pathological processes in the sexual apparatus or in the woman’s body. They are expressed in the absence of mense (amenorrhea). The menses may be excessive (hypermenorrhea) or scant (hypomenorrhea). Often the rhythm (periodicity) of the menses is changed, and they become more frequent (polymenorrhea, or proiomenorrhea) or less frequent (oligomenorrhea, or opsomenorrhea). Uterine hemorrhages arise most often due to disturbances of the menstrual cycle (dysfunctional hemorrhage).
Neoplasms (benign and malignant tumors) of the sex organs, often developing at the time of the climateric, are classified according to their localization.
Among the anomalies of female sex organs are defects in development (bicornate uterus, for instance), improper positioning (creases) and displacement (descent and prolapse) of the uterus, and partial or complete prolapse of the vagina.
In the USSR gynecological patients are accepted for health-center observation. Treatment is given at maternity consultation centers and at gynecological hospitals (gynecological departments of hospitals and living-in homes). Large industrial enterprises have obstetrical-gynecological offices and gynecological hospitals, whose functions include not only treatment of gynecological patients but also systematic examinations and out-patient observation of women workers and the execution of health-protection measures. In a number of cities (Kiev, Leningrad) gynecological clinics for women with abnormal climacterics have been established. Children’s gynecological hospitals have been organized in large cities. In rural areas gynecological care is provided by physicians of district hospitals and mid wife-paramedics under the guidance of the regional obstetrician-gynecologist. Gynecology is the study of women’s diseases.
REFERENCESNikonchik, O. K., and Z. I. Skugarevskaia. Organizatsiia akushersko-ginekologicheskoi pomoshchi v SSSR. Moscow, 1956. Braude, I. L., M. S. Malinovskii, and A. I. Serebrov. Neoperativnaia ginekologiia. Moscow, 1957.
Mandel’shtam, A. E. Semiotika i diagnostika zhenskikh boleznei. Leningrad, 1959.
G. E. GOFMAN