Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that resembles the uterine lining develops outside of the uterine cavity. The term “endometrium” refers to the lining of your uterus.
Endometriosis is brought on by the growth of endometrial-like tissue on the lining of your pelvic cavity, intestines, and ovaries. Although it’s uncommon, endometrial-like tissue can occasionally expand outside of the pelvic area. An endometrial implant is a growth of tissue that resembles the endometrium outside of the uterus.
The displaced endometrial-like tissue is affected by the hormonal fluctuations of your menstrual cycle, which results in inflammation and pain in the area. This implies that the tissue will swell, become thicker, and degrade. The tissue that has degenerated over time becomes trapped in your pelvis because it has nowhere else to go.
Signs that might indicate the endometriosis condition:
The main sign of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which is frequently related to menstruation. While many women experience cramps during their periods, endometriosis patients usually experience substantially more intense menstrual pain than the average person.
The following are typical endometriosis symptoms and signs:
Painful periods (dysmenorrhea):
Before and for a few days after a period, pelvic pain and cramps are common. Additionally, lower back and stomach ache along with endometriosis bloating are possible.
Pain during or after intercourse is a common symptom of endometriosis.
Pain while passing bowels:
The best chance of experiencing these symptoms is during a menstrual cycle.
Periodically, you might have thick periods or bleed between periods and irregular periods.
When a person seeks therapy for infertility, endometriosis is occasionally discovered for the first time.
Your condition’s severity may not always be accurately predicted by how much pain you are in. PCOS and endometriosis can be moderate and cause considerable pain, or it can be advanced and cause little to no pain.
The causative factors that are responsible for causing endometriosis:
Although the exact cause of endometriosis is uncertain, the following factors could have a role:
Menstrual blood with endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity during retrograde menstruation as opposed to leaving the body. These endometrial cells adhere to the surfaces of the pelvic organs and pelvic walls, where they develop throughout each menstrual cycle, thickening and bleeding.
Change in peritoneal cells:
According to the “induction theory,” which has been put out by researchers, hormones or immunological factors encourage peritoneal cells, which line the inside of your belly, to change into endometrial-like cells.
Embryonic cell transformation:
During puberty, hormones like estrogen may cause embryonic cells, which are still in the early stages of development, to grow into endometrial-like cell implants.
Immune system disorder:
The body may not be able to recognise and eliminate endometrial-like tissue that is developing outside the uterus if there is a problem with the immune system.
Risk factors that might increase the chances of developing endometriosis:
- Having your first period at very young age
- Having a later onset of menopause
- Shorter than 27 day menstrual periods, for example
- Heavy, longer-than-seven-day menstrual cycles
- More lifetime exposure to the estrogen your body produces or higher body estrogen levels
- A low body mass index
- Endometriosis in one or more family members (mother, aunt, or sister)
- Any medical ailment that interferes with the body’s ability to expel blood during periods
- Issues with the reproductive system
Diagnostic procedures that help in identifying the condition can include:
Your physician will ask you to describe your symptoms, including the location of your pain and when it happens, in order to identify endometriosis and other disorders that can cause pelvic discomfort.
Tests to look for symptoms of endometriosis include:
Your doctor will physically feel (palpate) various parts of your pelvis during a pelvic exam to check for any abnormalities, such as cysts on your reproductive organs or scars behind your uterus. Small endometriotic regions are frequently difficult to feel until they have resulted in the formation of a cyst.
Treatment options that can help in overcoming the condition:
Medication or surgery are typically used for endometriosis treatment. The course of action you and your doctor take will depend on the severity of your symptoms and whether or not you want to get pregnant.
Doctors often advise trying conservative treatment methods first and only resorting to surgery if such methods fail. Speak to your specialist to understand how to prevent endometriosis.
Endometriosis discomfort can occasionally be lessened or completely eliminated with the help of additional hormones. Endometrial implants thicken, degrade, and bleed as a result of the hormonal fluctuations that occur during the menstrual cycle. Hormone therapy may reduce endometrial tissue growth and stop new endometrial tissue implants.
If you have endometriosis and are attempting to get pregnant, you may have a better chance of success if you have “conservative surgery” to remove the endometriosis implants while keeping your uterus and ovaries. Although endometriosis and pain may return after surgery, it may help if you have severe endometriosis-related pain.
However, there are effective therapies, including drugs, hormone therapy, and surgery, to help control its problems, such as discomfort and fertility concerns. Additionally, endometriosis symptoms typically become better following menopause.
If you suspect you may have endometriosis, it’s critical to call your endometriosis doctor right away so that you can start the process of receiving an accurate diagnosis and ultimately developing a plan based on your unique circumstances.