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A Guide to Understanding Endometriosis

A Guide to Understanding Endometriosis

Recent studies show that an estimated one in 10 women suffer endometriosis. This disease affects over 10 percent of women and girls of reproductive age globally.

Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition where endometrial tissue (tissue similar to the lining of the uterus) grows outside, causing severe pains and sometimes infertility in women. This tissue acts like normal uterine tissue does during your period: It will break apart and bleed at the end of the cycle, but this blood has nowhere to go causing the surrounding areas to become inflamed or swollen. This may also result in scar tissue and lesions. Endometriosis is most common on the ovaries.

Endometriosis affects women from the onset of their period through menopause. It is a complex disease with multiple factors that could contribute to its development and can occur within women of all ethnic origins or social status statuses.
Due to the broad symptoms and lack of awareness of endometriosis, it is often misdiagnosed by health care workers, leading to long periods between symptom onset and diagnosis. The disease currently has no cure; however, early diagnosis and effective treatment go long to age the symptoms.

Causes of Endometriosis
Although the cause of Endometriosis has not been medically proven, experts have identified a few possible causes that may result in the disease. They include:

Retrograde Menstruation happens when menstrual flow moves in the wrong direction, carrying endometrial cells back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. This results in endometrial cells being deposited outside t h e you t e r u s, where they could be implanted and begin to grow.

Stem Cell Theory- Stem cell theory posits that the cells responsible for the regeneration of the endometrial lining during one’s menstrual cycle play a role in developing endometriosis. The spreading of these stem cells to ectopic regions can lead to the differentiation of endometrial cells and cause endometriosis.

Mulleriosis & Embryonic Origin Theory- The theory of mulleriosis proposes that the cause of endometriosis lies in developmental abnormalities in the female reproductive system. This system is a channel in the early embryo that goes on to develop into the fallopian tubes, uterus, and cervix.

Genetics- Many scientists agree that there is a genetic component to the cause of endometriosis. With one first-degree family member affected (mother, sister, daughter), a woman has an increased risk of having endometriosis.
Other generic possible causes include hormones, the only a system, and the immune system.

Common signs & symptoms:
Common signs and symptoms include painful periods with pelvic pain, cramping, lower back and abdominal pain are the most common symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis; pain experienced during or after sexual intercourse, pain with bowel movements and urination usually experienced during menstrual periods; excessive bleeding during menstrual period and between cycles (intermenstrual bleeding) and infertility.

Other signs include bloating, diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, and nausea, especially during menstruation.

Diagnosis
To diagnose endometriosis, doctors typically ask questions about symptoms and family history before taking tests for physical clues. One of the ways to diagnose endometriosis is through pelvic exams. During a pelvic exam, the doctor manually feels around the areas in the pelvis for any abnormalities such as cysts on reproductive organs or scars behind the uterus.

Another way to diagnose the disease is through ultrasound. A transducer device is pressed against the stomach or inside the vagina to capture images using high-frequency sound waves.
Advanced imaging like MRI could also be requested. Laparoscopy is the gold standard for diagnosis only.

Treatments
Endometriosis can cause challenges in day-to-day activities if left untreated, and individuals with the disease are subjected to high levels of pain and discomfort. Although it has no cure, various medical and surgical treatments are available to help manage the symptoms. Treatment options include:

Pain medication: A class of pain medications called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications like Ibuprofen has been known to alleviate the pain associated with endometriosis.

Hormone Therapy: Hormone therapy helps the body regulate the monthly hormonal changes that may lead to the growth and development of endometriosis
Hormonal contraceptive: Hormonal contraceptives work to decrease fertility by preventing the monthly build-up of endometrial tissue.

Surgery: If other treatments do not work, a doctor may recommend surgery to remove endometriotic tissue. In some cases, a hysterectomy with removal of both ovaries may be necessary.

Due to the high rate of misdiagnosis, we are g awareness of endometriosis and treatment options available to women within the country.

Paelon Memorial hospital offers a wide range of feminine health and fertility treatments at our healthy woman clinic. Its expert gynecologists can provide you with more information, treatment options, and support.