What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition when the tissues that are normally found within the lining of the uterus are found outside the uterus. In endometriosis, the displaced endometrial tissue acts like the normal tissues, it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with every menstrual cycle but it cannot find a way to exit the body s a result of which it gets trapped. Endometriosis involves the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, and the pelvic lining. When it involves the ovaries, cysts are formed called endometriomas. Gradually, this leads to the development of abnormal bands of fibrous tissues that can cause severe pain during periods. With time, it also leads to fertility issues.
(Read more to know the 5 signs of Endometrial cancer that you must not ignore)
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The first and foremost symptom of endometriosis is extreme pelvic pain. Although pelvic pain is a part of the menstrual cycle, those who have Endometriosis describes the pain as far worse.
The other signs and symptoms of Endometriosis are:
- Pain during sex is common in women with Endometriosis
- Pain while peeing and pooping especially during periods
- Heavy menstrual flow and occasional bleeding in between periods
- Pelvic, lower back and abdominal pain that begins before periods and extends several days into periods
While pain is a primary symptom for Endometriosis but it may also signify other conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cyst.
Some symptoms of Endometriosis are also similar to irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
Complications related to Endometriosis
There are a number of complications that might affect you with further advancement of Endometriosis
- Infertility affects more than 50% of those having Endometriosis
- Ovarian cyst
- Risk of ovarian cancer or adenocarcinoma
- Intestinal and bladder complications
It is important that you talk to your doctor with any symptoms that you observe so as to avoid further complications.
Cause of Endometriosis
It is difficult to tell what exactly causes endometriosis, but according to researchers, these might be the possible reasons:
Problem with the period flow
In some cases, the menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tube into the pelvis rather than out of the body. This is called retrograde menstrual flow.
Problem with the Immune system
An impaired immune system may fail to destroy the endometrial tissue that grows outside the uterus.
Endometriosis can be a hereditary condition, so if your mother or a close relative has this condition, it might be inherited in the genes.
In certain surgeries of the abdominal area like a C-section or hysterectomy, endometrial tissue could have been moved by mistake. This might lead to endometriosis in the future.
Treatment of Endometriosis
Surgery is an option to treat Endometriosis but your doctor will suggest surgery only if none of the other treatments works
- Pain medications
- Hormonal therapy
- Fertility treatment
- A combined contraceptive pill containing hormones estrogen and progesterone
However, your doctor will discuss every treatment option with you including its benefits and risks. But there are also a number of factors to consider while deciding on a particular treatment like
- Symptoms like pain or infertility
- If you are planning on starting a family
Treatment is usually not required of your symptoms are very mild, you have no issues with getting pregnant or you are close to your menopause because symptoms in such cases tend to get better without treatment. So it is better to visit a doctor, talk to her and then decide what must be done.