Endometriosis: What you should know?
What is endometriosis?
As you know, endometrium is a thin layer of tissue that lines the inner cavity of the uterus. Endometriosis is a common gynaecological disorder in which the endometrium grows outside the uterine cavity. It is a non cancerous abnormal growth of tissues. It can grow in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs, and in rare cases it may grow outside the pelvic organs as well.
The endometrial tissues will be affected by the hormonal changes that woman undergoes during the course of the menstrual cycle. It may be pushed out of the vagina during the menstrual cycle every month. Or it may get trapped inside causing severe discomfort, scars, adhesions, infertility etc.
Endometriosis can be of four different stages classified on the severity of the disorder. It can be minimal, mild, moderate, and severe.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The symptoms of endometriosis vary from woman to woman. Sometimes you may not show up severe symptoms but the endometriosis may be intense inside, and vice versa. Most of the women will have hardly any symptoms with endometriosis. The common endometriosis symptoms include:
- Intense pain in the lower abdomen during and before menstrual cycle starts.
- Painful and heavy periods
- Heavy menstrual bleeding during periods and between periods accompanied with pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Fertility problems
- Feeling discomfort or pain during bowel movements or while urinating
- Pain in the pelvic region, which may be intense during periods
- Fatigue and dizziness during periods
- Constipation or diarrhoea during periods
- Bloating or nausea during periods
Causes of Endometriosis
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known yet, but the following endometriosis causes has been approved by the medical world.
- Retrograde menstruation: It is a process in which the menstrual blood flows backward to the fallopian tube and enters the pelvic region, instead to going outside through the vagina. The blood that flows back will stick on to other organs like ovaries, fallopian tube, rectum, etc. It thickens and bleeds when you have your menstrual cycle resulting in heavy bleeding.
- Surgical scars: Retrograde menstruation is also possible when you have surgical scars or leakage during an abdominal surgery like caesarean delivery. The menstrual blood will leak through the scar and flows back to the pelvic region. Also the blood may get attached to the incision.
- A disorder in the immune system
Treatment for Endometriosis
The diagnosis of the illness is done through a physical examination, ultrasound imaging or laparoscopy. Endometriosis treatment options include:
- Hormone therapy: This includes using hormone tablets or injections which will reduce the female hormones in the body, and thereby stops ovulation. Therefore endometrial tissues will face a slow growth and cannot thicken giving you relief from the painful symptoms.
- Endometriosis surgery: Endometrial tissues can be removed through a laparoscopic or laparatomy surgery while preserving the other reproductive organs. This will reinstate your chances of fertility, and therefore woman who are aiming for pregnancy often choose surgical method.