The Uterus: An Extraordinary Organ

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women.jpegThe uterus is arguably the most important organ, along with the brain and heart. The uterus carries the possibility for all future life force, not to mention a slew of controversy in politics. It also causes pain and bleeding. Over 211 million women become pregnant every year with 10 to 20 percent of them ending in miscarriages.

While we know much about the uterus today, we have come a long way from once believing the organ floated around the body and caused hysteria.

The Confusing World of Menstruation

While many women have accepted that menstruation is a fact of life, what’s curious is how much we don’t know about how they work or why bleeding needs to happen. Studies guess that menstruation protects us from abnormal pregnancies. But, what causes the bleeding to stop? How does the uterus heal from monthly bleeding without creating scar tissue? We are also left wondering how diseases like polycystic ovary syndrome or endometriosis are caused. They’re common occurrences, and yet there’s no cure for either. For painful and serious symptoms, the only treatment is to take away the life creating an organ that’s causing the pain via hysterectomy.

Growing Double

Yet another mystery of the female body? It creates an extra organ (the placenta) while it’s also busy creating a new life in utero. “I’d say the placenta is probably the least studied and the least understood organ in the body,” said Catherine Spong, director of the National Institute of Child and Human Development. She’s in charge of the Human Placenta Project (HPP), which aims to develop new tools to monitor the placenta throughout its development. “If you could understand how the placenta allows two genetically distinct entities not only to grow, but also thrive, the implications for enhancing our understanding of immunology and transplant medicine would be pretty remarkable.”

Stacy Zamuido, director of research on placentas at Hackensack University Medical Center, said the placenta is “the most wonderful organ ever. It breathes, it produces hormones, it produces immunologic factors that protect the baby against infection. It acts like a skin, a liver, a kidney, a lung—it does all the functions of the other organs in one organ.”

What Does the Future Hold?

While we still don’t know many things about the mysterious uterus organ, we do know how to deliver healthy babies, and safely remove disease and cancer with a hysterectomy. We even know how to transplant a uterus into a previously infertile woman so she can give birth to a child. Cleveland Clinic recently and successfully transplanted a uterus in a 26 year old woman, and four out of nine women in Sweden gave birth to healthy babies after their own clinical trials.

One thing is for sure: We’ll continue to study the female reproductive system until we can understand it fully.

Nevada Surgery and Cancer Care specializes in treating gynecologic problems and cancers. Dr. Kowalski has served Las Vegas with her skill in minimally invasive hysterectomy surgery since 1998. To learn more about our services, visit our website.

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