Endometriosis: When the Endometrium Tissue Grows Outside the Womb
There are over 176 million women in the world today, suffering from a severe condition called endometriosis. The disease affects women in the age group of fifteen to fifty that is women in the reproductive part of their life.
While it is possible to get pregnant, women who suffer from this condition usually have difficulty conceiving. And, it is complicated to get diagnosed as a diagnosis can sometimes take up to ten years.
You can test for this disease either through a pelvic exam or an ultrasound or a laparoscopy.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when the same tissue that forms in the uterus—the endometrium—forms in places that are outside the uterus like on the bowel or urinary bladder. Like the endometrium breaks down each month, the cells break down and release blood which has nowhere to go. This causes profound pain and may result in the surrounding areas becoming swollen.
What are the three types of Endometriosis?
Based on where the tissue grows, there are three main types of endometriosis.
SPE (Superficial peritoneal endometriosis):
Happens to be the most common kind of endometriosis. One of the symptoms of this kind of endometriosis is lesions on your peritoneum which is a thin membrane covering your pelvic cavity
Endometrioma (ovarian lesion):
Also known as chocolate cysts, because of the dark coloured fluid that is collected in these deeply embedded cysts of the ovaries, endometrioma does not respond well to treatment.
DIE (Deeply infiltrative endometriosis):
Affecting the organs around the uterus like the bowel or the bladder, DIE, is a very challenging disease to treat and is known to be more painful than the other two.
What Are the Causes of Endometriosis?
There is no exact cause for endometriosis, but here are some of the likely causal factors:
Any immune system disorder which makes the body unable to destroy the endometrial tissue that grows outside the uterus
The lymphatic system might have transported the endometrial cells to other parts of the body
Retrograde menstruation occurs when the menstrual blood flows back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity. Ideally, it should flow out through the vagina.
Leakage of blood into the pelvic cavity in case of any operation
Transformation of peritoneal cells into endometrial cells because of hormones or other immune factors
What Are Some Of The Symptoms Of Endometriosis?
There are plenty of symptoms of endometriosis, and they differ from person to person. Some of the more common symptoms are:
Dysmenorrhea (excruciating periods): Very severe pain around the pelvic region as well as the lower back and abdomen
Severe pain during intercourse
Severe pain during urination or excreting
Excessive bleeding during the menstrual period
Bleeding in between periods
More commonly present in women who have infertility
Blood in your stool or urine
Women may notice any one or many of these symptoms in varying degrees. But it is well known that the pain is quite severe and not like regular period cramps.
Endometriosis: The Common Treatment
While there is no cure for endometriosis, surgery, and medication may help. Doctors may prescribe pills for pain relief. You can also try surgery using laparoscopy and hormone treatment. Surgery involves removing as much of the affected tissue cells. In worst cases, you may have to have a hysterectomy.
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