Endometriosis is a condition faced by women that are generally associated with pain and infertility. Almost 3-10% of women in their reproductive age face this issue, but only a small percentage of these women get it diagnosed before it does substantial damage to the body. It is important to diagnose and treat endometriosis as soon as possible; however, to do that, awareness is key.
Definition and Causes of Endometriosis:
When the lining inside the uterus, the endometrial tissue, starts growing outside the uterus onto other organs such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes, the disorder is called endometriosis. This tissue generally sticks to areas around the pelvis; however, in some cases it has been found in other areas of the body as well. When the endometrial tissue grows on the ovaries, small cysts called endometriomas form. Endometriosis causes a variety of issues in women’s bodies, the most common being excessive pelvic pain and infertility. While no definite cause for endometriosis has been determined, there are a few theories about what could possibly cause this condition. One of those theories is retrograde menstruation. When a woman is on her period, some of the blood and tissue may travel to the abdominal area through the fallopian tube. Another theory is that some of the cells outside the uterus can change, and become the same as endometrial tissue cells.
Symptoms of Endometriosis:
Many women normally experience one or two of these symptoms during their period. However, it is important to recognize a group of symptoms that may indicate endometriosis, and seek help. Some of these symptoms are:
- Excessive pain and cramps around the pelvis during menstruation.
- Irregular bowel movements before and during the period.
- Excessive bloating during the period.
- Excessive bleeding during and between menstrual periods.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
Endometriosis and Infertility:
Almost 50% of women with endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant. Endometriosis distorts the fallopian tube, which then fails to pick up eggs after ovulation. Another way that endometriosis affects fertility is by causing inflammation to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and nearby areas. This, in turn, prevents them from functioning properly. The treatments for endometriosis can help boost fertility. In more severe cases, women can also use ART( Assisted Reproductive Technology) to get pregnant.
Diagnosis of Endometriosis:
Endometriosis can be diagnosed by a laparoscopic procedure, wherein a tiny telescope with a light at the end is inserted through the belly button, to check if there is any endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus. Since endometriosis is a progressive condition, this procedure also helps to determine which Endometriosis Stage the patient is at, and set the appropriate treatment plan.
Treatment of Endometriosis:
Laparoscopic Procedures also help treat endometriosis. The procedure is used to burn the endometrial tissue and get rid of it. This can also help get rid of scar tissue. Undergoing this procedure can help boost fertility rates for people with endometriosis. This tissue can tend to grow back after some years, due to which women who do not wish to get pregnant opt to remove their uterus, so as to prevent the condition from returning. There are also some medications available that help with inflammation and pain faced by women with endometriosis. Women who want to have children can undergo IVF treatments to get pregnant.
Endometriosis is a serious condition that tends to progress with time. It is best to get yourself checked as soon as possible, if you suspect that you may be suffering from the condition. After all, it is better to be safe than sorry.