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Uterine polyps are growths attached to the inner wall of the uterus that extend into the uterine cavity. Overgrowth of cells in the lining of the uterus (endometrium) leads to the formation of uterine polyps, also known as endometrial polyps. These polyps are usually noncancerous (benign), although some can be cancerous or can eventually turn into cancer (precancerous polyps).

The sizes of uterine polyps range from a few millimeters — no larger than a sesame seed — to several centimeters — golf ball sized or larger. They attach to the uterine wall by a large base or a thin stalk.

You can have one or many uterine polyps. They usually stay contained within your uterus, but occasionally, they may slip down through the opening of the uterus (cervix) into your vagina. Uterine polyps most commonly occur in women who are going through or have completed menopause (peri- and postmenopausal women), although younger women can get them, too.

Uterine prolapse occurs when pelvic floor muscles and ligaments stretch and weaken, providing inadequate support for the uterus. The uterus then slips down into or protrudes out of the vagina.

Uterine prolapse can happen to women of any age, but it often affects postmenopausal women who've had one or more vaginal deliveries. Weakening of the pelvic muscles that leads to uterine prolapse can be caused by:

  • Damage to supportive tissues during pregnancy and childbirth
  • Effects of gravity
  • Loss of estrogen
  • Repeated straining over the years

If you have mild uterine prolapse, treatment usually isn't needed. But if uterine prolapse makes you uncomfortable or disrupts your normal life, you might benefit from treatment.

Uveitis (u-ve-I-tis) is inflammation of the uvea, the middle layer of the eye. The uvea consists of the iris, choroid and ciliary body. The choroid is sandwiched between the retina and the white of the eye (sclera), and it provides blood flow to the deep layers of the retina. The most common type of uveitis is an inflammation of the iris called iritis (anterior uveitis).

Infections, injury and autoimmune disorders may be associated with the development of uveitis, though the exact cause is often unknown.

Uveitis can be serious, leading to permanent vision loss. Early diagnosis and treatment are important to prevent the complications of uveitis.

Vaginal atrophy, also called atrophic vaginitis, is thinning, drying and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to your body having less estrogen. Vaginal atrophy occurs most often after menopause, but it can also develop during breast-feeding or at any other time your body's estrogen production declines.

For many women, vaginal atrophy makes intercourse painful — and if intercourse hurts, your interest in sex will naturally decrease. In addition, healthy genital function is closely connected with healthy urinary system function.

Simple, effective treatments for vaginal atrophy are available. Reduced estrogen levels result in changes to your body, but it doesn't mean you have to live with the discomfort of vaginal atrophy.

Vaginal cancer is a rare cancer that occurs in your vagina — the muscular tube that connects your uterus with your outer genitals. Vaginal cancer most commonly occurs in the cells that line the surface of your vagina, which is sometimes called the birth canal.

While several types of cancer can spread to your vagina from other places in your body, cancer that begins in your vagina (primary vaginal cancer) is rare.

Women with early-stage vaginal cancer have the best chance for a cure. Vaginal cancer that spreads beyond the vagina is much more difficult to treat.

Vaginal dryness is a common problem for women during and after menopause, although inadequate vaginal lubrication can occur at any age. Vaginal dryness is a hallmark sign of vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis) — thinning and inflammation of the vaginal walls due to a decline in estrogen.

A thin layer of moisture coats your vaginal walls. When you're sexually aroused, more blood flows to your pelvic organs, creating more lubricating vaginal fluid. But hormonal changes associated with your menstrual cycle, aging, menopause, childbirth and breast-feeding may affect the amount and consistency of this moisture.

Vaginitis is an inflammation of the vagina that can result in discharge, itching and pain. The cause is usually a change in the normal balance of vaginal bacteria or an infection. Vaginitis can also result from reduced estrogen levels after menopause.

The most common types of vaginitis are:

  • Bacterial vaginosis, which results from overgrowth of one of several organisms normally present in your vagina
  • Yeast infections, which are usually caused by a naturally occurring fungus called Candida albicans
  • Trichomoniasis, which is caused by a parasite and is commonly transmitted by sexual intercourse
  • Vaginal atrophy (atrophic vaginitis), which results from reduced estrogen levels after menopause

Treatment depends on the type of vaginitis you have.

A varicocele (VAR-ih-koe-seel) is an enlargement of the veins within the loose bag of skin that holds your testicles (scrotum). A varicocele is similar to a varicose vein that can occur in your leg.

Varicoceles are a common cause of low sperm production and decreased sperm quality, which can cause infertility. However, not all varicoceles affect sperm production. Varicoceles can also cause testicles to fail to develop normally or shrink.

Most varicoceles develop over time. Fortunately, most varicoceles are easy to diagnose and many don't need treatment. If a varicocele causes symptoms, it often can be repaired surgically.

Varicose veins are gnarled, enlarged veins. Any vein may become varicose, but the veins most commonly affected are those in your legs and feet. That's because standing and walking upright increases the pressure in the veins of your lower body.

For many people, varicose veins and spider veins — a common, mild variation of varicose veins — are simply a cosmetic concern. For other people, varicose veins can cause aching pain and discomfort. Sometimes varicose veins lead to more-serious problems. Varicose veins may also signal a higher risk of other circulatory problems. Treatment may involve self-care measures or procedures by your doctor to close or remove veins.

Vascular dementia is a general term describing problems with reasoning, planning, judgment, memory and other thought processes caused by brain damage from impaired blood flow to your brain.

You can develop vascular dementia after a stroke blocks an artery in your brain, but strokes don't always cause vascular dementia. Whether a stroke affects your thinking and reasoning depends on your stroke's severity and location. Vascular dementia also can result from other conditions that damage blood vessels and reduce circulation, depriving your brain of vital oxygen and nutrients.

Factors that increase your risk of heart disease and stroke — including high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking — also raise your vascular dementia risk. Controlling these factors can help lower your chances of developing vascular dementia.