Health

Endometriosis – All You Need to Know

Endometriosis is a situation whereby the tissues supposed to line the womb(uterus) grows on the outer part of the uterus. In other scenarios, these tissues may also develop on other parts such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes.

Endometriosis can cause symptoms like:

  • Painful menstruation bleeding.
  • Pain in the pelvis
  • Pain during and after sexual intercourse.
  • Infertility problems.

There isn’t one exact cause of endometriosis. However, doctors are of the opinion that it is connected to a number of hormone reasons.

What are the causes of endometriosis?

As stated above, there is no exact cause of endometriosis. Some possible causes of endometriosis include:

1. Retrograde menstruation.

This is when menstrual blood that contains endometrial cells can menstruate retrogradely, which means that it returns through the fallopian tubes rather than leaving the body through the vaginal opening. When this occurs, the cells have the potential to grow and implant on the pelvic organs, resulting in endometriosis.

2. Hormonal factors.

Hormones such as estrogen can stimulate the growth of endometrial tissue, and certain hormonal medications or conditions can increase the risk of developing endometriosis.

3. Immune system dysfunction.

Some researchers believe that a problem with the immune system may prevent the body from recognizing and destroying endometrial tissue that has grown outside of the uterus.

4. Genetic factors.

Sometimes, you may get endometriosis simply because it is in your genetics and run in your family.

Types of endometriosis

There are several types of endometriosis based on the location and appearance of the endometrial tissue growth. These types include:

  1. Superficial endometriosis: This is the most common type of endometriosis and is characterized by shallow endometrial tissue growths on the surface of the pelvic organs.
  2. Deep endometriosis: This type of endometriosis involves endometrial tissue growths that are deeper in the pelvic tissue and may involve the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or other organs.
  3. Endometriomas: This type of endometriosis is characterized by the development of large, fluid-filled cysts on the ovaries. These cysts contain old blood that has a chocolate-like appearance.
  4. Adhesive endometriosis: This type of endometriosis is characterized by the formation of scar tissue that can bind the pelvic organs together, causing pain and discomfort.

The type of endometriosis that a person has can affect their symptoms and the treatment options available to them. Talk to your doctor if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis to determine the type and vigor of the condition.

Endometriosis Symptoms

  1. Painful menses: You will notice that most women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis had
  2. painful sex as one of the symptoms. This pain may be mild or severe and occurs in the lower abdomen or pelvis.
  3. Pelvic pain: This can be a constant or intermittent pain that is felt in the lower abdomen or pelvis. It may be worse during periods, during sex, or easing yourself.
  4. Pain during sexual intercourse: This can be a sharp or dull pain during or after sex.
  5. Infertility: Endometriosis can cause infertility by disrupting the normal function of the reproductive organs or by causing scar tissue to form on the reproductive organs.

Note: Not everyone with endometriosis will experience all of these symptoms. Schedule an appointment with your gynecologist in case you are experiencing any mentioned symptoms of endometriosis.

Stages of endometriosis

Endometriosis is commonly classified into four stages, based on the location, extent, and depth of the endometrial tissue growths, as well as the presence of scar tissue or endometriomas (chocolate cysts).

These stages are:

  1. Stage 1: This is the least severe stage of endometriosis. It is characterized by small, shallow endometrial tissue growths on the surface of the pelvic organs.
  2. Stage 2: This stage is characterized by the presence of more extensive or deeper endometrial tissue growths on the pelvic organs.
  3. Stage 3: This stage is characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue growths on the pelvic organs and the presence of endometriomas on the ovaries. It may also include the presence of scar tissue, called adhesions.
  4. Stage 4: This is the most fatal and scary stage of endometriosis. It is characterized by deep endometrial tissue growths on the pelvic organs and the presence of endometriomas and adhesions.

The stage of endometriosis can affect a person’s symptoms and treatment options. Seek medical help to determine the stage of the condition.

Diagnosis for endometriosis

Endometriosis is typically diagnosed by normal physical examinations, a couple of imaging tests, or laparoscopy.

  • During a physical exam, a doctor will look for signs of endometriosis, such as tenderness or swelling in the pelvic area.
  • Imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI, can also be used to look for endometrial tissue growths or other abnormalities in the pelvic organs.
  • The most accurate way to diagnose endometriosis is through laparoscopy which is a surgical and requires your gynecologist to put a small camera through a small incision in the abdomen to view the pelvis exclusively. During the procedure, a doctor can also take a sample of the endometrial tissue for testing to confirm the diagnosis.

Do not hesitate to see a doctor whenever you experience symptoms of endometriosis to receive a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Treatment

Treatment for endometriosis typically involves medication or surgery, depending on the vigor of the condition.

Hormonal birth control, such as oral contraceptives or hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs), can help reduce the pain and bleeding associated with endometriosis by regulating menstrual cycles.

Your doctor may also recommend some anti-inflammatory drugs which are nonsteroidal to manage pain.

In more fatal cases of endometriosis, surgery to remove the endometrial tissue growths and scar tissue must be performed. This can be done using laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure, or through open surgery.

Also, a hysterectomy which is the removal of the uterus may be required.

Prevention measures for endometriosis

There is no sure way to prevent endometriosis, but there are some things you can do to reduce its prevalence or to help manage your symptoms:

  • Use hormonal birth control: Hormonal contraceptives, such as oral contraceptives or hormonal IUDs, can help regulate menstrual cycles and reduce the risk of endometriosis.
  • Exercise regularly: Exercise can help reduce the pain .
  • Eat a healthy diet: Watching your diet is another sure way to prevent many health complications including endometriosis.
  • Avoid excessive alcohol: Excessive alcohol consumption can increase the risk of endometriosis.
  • Avoid tobacco: Smoking tobacco is also said to increase risks of endometriosis. So, its better not to smoke it at all.

Pay attention to your symptoms and talk to your doctor if you are experiencing chronic pain, heavy periods, or other symptoms that may be related to endometriosis. Early detection and treatment is good to avoid many complications.

 

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