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Challenges in Diagnosis of Reproductive Dysfunction

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Ovarian function and hence cyclicity in women is initiated at puberty and regular menstrual cycles continue until menopause, the point of reproductive senescence. Disturbances in normal cyclicity are usually indicative of a reproductive disorder in women. Disturbance/s may be manifested as oligomenorrhoea, dysmenorrhoea, amenorrhoea or anovulation etc and aid/s in early detection of the clinical condition. On the other hand, in certain ovarian disorders, such as ovarian cancer, symptoms of dysfunction are observed only in the advanced stage of the disease. It is therefore imperative to develop tests/techniques for detecting the disorder at an initial stage in order to facilitate timely treatment. In case of some ovarian conditions such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) and Premature Ovarian Failure (POF), the diagnostic criteria and methods of detection are well - defined. However, in a majority of disorders the cause of the disease is not clear, thus posing limitations in the development of new methods of detection or improvement of the existing ones. For instance, an increase in CA125 is widely used for the prognosis of ovarian cancer but the same is not a specific marker since CA125 is known to increase in other cancers as well as endometriosis. Identification of highly specific markers for the multitude of ovarian pathologies is therefore essential.

In recent years, development of molecular diagnostic techniques such as Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR), Single nucleotide polymorphism (SNP), has gained momentum over currently available methods of detection such as ultrasonography, radioimmunoassay to elucidate the extent of damage to the reproductive organ. In the review, recent progress in detection of diseases at the cellular and molecular level, and possible research avenues in diagnosis and prognosis of reproductive disorders has been highlighted.

Keywords: Reproductive tract infections; engineering animals; genetics; menstrual dysfunction; molecular biology techniques; ovarian disorders

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: National Institute for Research in Reproductive Health (ICMR), Jehangir Merwanji Street, Parel, Mumbai - 400 012, India.

Publication date: 2006-05-01

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  • Current Women's Health Reviews publishes frontier reviews on all the latest advances on obstetrics and gynecology. The journal's aim is to publish the highest quality review articles dedicated to research in the field. The journal is essential reading for all clinicians and researchers in the fields of obstetrics and gynecology.
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