Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is a painful disorder involving the abnormal growth of cells in the uterus. Endometriosis affects fertility in women because of the additional production of a few hormones and other bodily substances that create a reactionary effect on the woman’s body. The ovulation cycle is blocked in the uterus walls.
In the case of Endometriosis, the tissues that are generally lined inside the uterus develop beyond the uterus. Here, the tissues can be found in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or intestines. Endometriosis brings pain and occasionally the pain turns severe, particularly during menstrual periods.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
During Endometriosis, the common symptoms are pelvic pain and menstrual irregularities.
- Dysmenorrhea or painful periods: Pelvic pain or cramping carries on for one or more days after menstrual period. There will be abdominal and lower back pain.
- Excess bleeding during menstrual periods or bleeding between the periods
- Pain during bowel movements or urination
- Pain during and after intercourse
- Fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, constipation, bloating or during menstrual periods.
Causes of Endometriosis
- Retrograde menstruation
- Endometrial cell transport
- Transformation of peritoneal cells
- Immune system disorder
- Embryonic cell transformation
- Surgical scar implantation
To detect endometriosis and related conditions that create pelvic pain, the doctor will ask the patient to describe the symptoms, including the location of pain and timing of occurrence. Other tests are done to get the clues of endometriosis include:
- Pelvic exam: During a pelvic exam, the doctor manually examines the pelvis areas and related abnormalities such as cysts in the reproductive organs or scars behind the uterus.
- Ultrasound: In this test, high-frequency sound waves are used to create imaging of the interior body parts. To capture the image inside the vagina, a device called a transducer is either pressed against the abdomen or inserted into the vagina (transvaginal ultrasound).
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): An MRI test, there is the use of magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed imaging of the organs and tissues within the body. MRI helps in surgical planning and gives the surgeon detailed information on the location and size of endometrial implants.
- Laparoscopy: The surgeon may refer for a laparoscopy procedure that allows the surgeon to view the interior of the abdomen (laparoscopy). Then, the surgeon recommends for tissue sample (biopsy) for further testing.
There are two major options for endometriosis-medication and surgery. The approach the patient and doctor will take depends on the signs and symptoms or if the woman gets pregnant or not. The doctor will recommend conservative treatment approaches first and will go for surgery if the initial treatment fails.
- Pain Medication- over-the-counter pain reliever like non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and ibuprofen or naproxen sodium (Aleve) to remove painful menstrual cramps.
- Hormone therapy: Supplemental hormones are very effective in reducing or eliminating endometriosis pain. Hormone medication slows down endometrial tissue growth. It also prevents new implants of endometrial tissue.
- Hormonal contraceptives: Birth control pills, vaginal rings, and patches control the hormones responsible for the building-up of endometrial tissue. Using hormonal contraceptives, particularly continuous-cycle regimens can eliminate pain in some cases.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists
- Progestin therapy– a range of progestin therapies, including an intrauterine device with levonorgestrel, contraceptive implant, and injection or progestin pill (Camila) halts menstrual periods and growth of endometrial implants