chapter  7
28 Pages

The female reproductive system

ByPeter Kopelman, Dame Jane Dacre

Women’s health forms a large part of clinical practice, and includes pre-pregnancy planning, pregnancy, childbirth, disorders of menstruation, pelvic tumours, incontinence, pelvic organ prolapse, contraception and fertility. Knowledge of the embryological development of the urogenital system is relevant because there are clinical problems that may present in childhood and early adult life as a direct consequence of congenital anatomical abnormalities. Simple neurological assessment includes watching the patient walk and asking if any weakness or numbness has been identified in the saddle area and/or lower limbs. Women usually consult doctors about their breasts because of discomfort, because they have found a lump or, more rarely, because of nipple discharge. Breast symptoms in men are much less common, but glandular development of the male breast forming a lump behind the areola. Discomfort in the breasts is almost invariably benign, although breast carcinomas occasionally present with pain.