What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to the tissue that forms the inner lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterine cavity. The lining of your uterus is called the endometrium. It most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs.
What are the causes and symptoms?
The symptoms of endometriosis vary. Some women experience mild symptoms, but others can have moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of your pain isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of the extent of the condition. You could have mild endometriosis with severe pain, or you could have advanced endometriosis with little or no pain. The most common symptom of endometriosis are:-
-Periods lasting longer than 7 days
– Severe cramps
– Severe migraines or lower back pain during your period
– Allergies that get worse around your period
– Vaginal bleeding between periods
– Bowel and urinary problems including pain, diarrhoea, constipation, and bloating
– Trouble getting pregnant
– Pain during intercourse
Although the exact cause of endometriosis is not certain, possible explanations include:
– Problems with menstrual flow
– Embryonic cell growth
– Fetal development
– Surgical scar
What are the different stages of Endometriosis?
Endometriosis has four stages or types based upon the exact location, extent, and depth of the endometriosis implants. It can be any of the following:
– Stage 1 or minimal: There a few small implants or small wounds or lesions. They may be found on your organs or the tissue lining your pelvis or abdomen. There’s little to no scar tissue.
– Stage 2 or mild: There are more implants than in stage 1. They’re also deeper in the tissue, and there may be some scar tissue.
– Stage 3 or moderate: There are many deep implants. You may also have small cysts on one or both ovaries, and thick bands of scar tissue called adhesions.
– Stage 4 or severe: This is the most widespread. You have many deep implants and thick adhesions. There are also large cysts on one or both ovaries.
Endometriosis can be a challenging condition to manage. An early diagnosis, a multidisciplinary medical team and an understanding of your diagnosis may result in better management of your symptoms. Laparoscopy is the only sure way to determine if you have endometriosis. A surgeon inflates the abdomen with gas through a small incision in the navel. A laparoscope is a viewing instrument that’s inserted through the incision. The surgeon can take small pieces of tissue for a lab to examine — called a biopsy — to confirm the diagnosis.
Endometriosis can be treated with medications and/or surgery. The goals of endometriosis treatment may include symptom relief and/or enhancement of fertility.
– “Watchful waiting” to observe the course of the disease
– Pain medication: nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen or other over-the-counter analgesics
– Hormone therapy, including:
– Oral contraceptives, with combined estrogen and progestin (a synthetic form of progesterone) hormones, to prevent ovulation and reduce menstrual flow
– Progestins alone
– Danazol, a synthetic derivative of testosterone (a male hormone)