Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that grows in your uterus (endometrium) starts growing outside of the uterus.
This tissue acts like endometrial tissue. They grow, break down and bleed during every menstrual cycle. But there is no way to come out, then this gets attached anywhere in the pelvic cavity.
When this tissue is attached to the ovaries, they appear as a cyst is known as endometriomas.
Every 1 in 10 women in her reproductive age faces this issue.
Symptoms of endometriosis
- Menstrual pain – Pain in the lower back and abdomen with cramps can be severe than normal menses. It can stay for several days before and after your periods.
- Excessive bleeding – You can experience heavy bleeding during your periods or in between two periods.
- Painful intercourse – Pain while or after intercourse is the most common symptom of endometriosis.
- Pain while urination – You can feel pain while urinating or bowel movement during your periods.
Stages of endometriosis
- Minimal – In minimal endometriosis there may be small lesions or wounds near your ovary. Also pain and inflammation in the pelvic cavity.
- Mild – It involves light lesions and shallow implants on an ovary and pelvic lining.
- Moderate – It involves deep implants on the ovary and pelvic lining.
- Severe – This is the most dangerous stage of endometriosis. It involves deep implants on the ovaries and pelvic lining.
The exact cause of endometriosis is uncertain.
Retrograde Menstruation – Normally endometrial tissue creates lining in the uterus, and during the menstrual cycle, they break down and shed through the cervix to the vagina.
But in some cases, this tissue or menstrual fluid reverts to the pelvic cavity through the fallopian tube. This is also known as Retrograde menstruation.
Induction Theory – Hormones promote the transformation of peritoneal cells (cells in the inner side of the abdomen) into endometrial-like cells.
Embryonic Cell Transformation – During puberty estrogen may transform embryonic cells into endometrial-like cells.
Surgical Scar Implantation – After a surgery like C – section or hysterectomy endometrial cells can attach to the surgical incision.
Immune System Disorder – If there is a problem in an immune system, the body may be unable to recognize endometrial-like tissue, which is growing in other parts of the body.
- Early menarche that starts your period an early age
- Delayed menopause
- Heavy periods – more than 7 days
- Short menstrual cycles – less than 27 days
- Never given birth
- Disorder of reproductive system
- Hereditary – one or more family members with endometriosis
Diagnosis is mainly done with pelvic examination and the history of pain which you are explaining to your physician.
Ultrasound will not definitely tell you about endometriosis but it will show some cyst.
MRI will show the exact size and location of endometriosis.
Endometriosis has no cure but can be managed symptomatically.
Pain reliever – Your doctor may suggest you Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory drug as pain relief.
Hormonal therapy – Hormonal therapy will help you to regulate the hormonal levels and slower the endometrial tissue growth and prevent new implants of endometrial tissue.
Hormonal contraceptive – Birth control pills or vaginal rings create an endometrial layer every month which helps to reduce pain in endometriosis.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists – This blocks the production of estrogen and creates artificial menopause.
Conservative surgery – This surgery is done for women who want to conceive in the future. This surgery removes endometrial growths without damaging reproductive organs.
Hysterectomy – it is last option, done only in severe cases. The surgeon removes the uterus and cervix, but in some cases needs to remove ovaries too.
- If you find any above symptoms please consult your gynecologist.
- Give proper history and describe your pain pattern properly for a perfect diagnosis.
- If your pain persists, you can try home remedies like a hot bath or heating pad to relieve pain.
- Include fruits, leafy vegetables, broccoli, nuts, and food rich in essential fatty acids – that is Salmon, sardines, and walnuts in your diet.