Endometriosis: Symptoms and treatment
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where cells from the uterus lining appear outside the uterus cavity. It usually involves ovaries and the pelvis. These cells are influenced by the hormonal change. They thicken, break down, and bleed with each menstrual cycle. The blood becomes trapped and creates inflammation of the surrounding tissues which leads to form cysts and adhesions.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms may vary from one woman to another. Usually endometriosis can cause severe pain during the period time.It includes the below signs and symptoms:
- Painful periods: Pain may start before the period and lasts for several days.
- Intercourse pain: The pain after intercourse is common in endometriosis cases and can last for few hours.
-Infertility: This may be due to an adhesion of the fallopian tubes which block the egg passage.
- Excessive bleeding: You may experience heavy bleeding during the periods and between two cycles.
- Other signs may include fatigue, nausea, constipation, headaches and low fever.
Who can get endometriosis?
The exact cause of endometriosis is still uncertain. There are several factors that can cause endometriosis.
- Family history with endometriosis.
- Surgical history, abdominal surgery as hysterectomy or C-Section can cause endometriosis.
-History of pelvic infection
- Reversed menstruation where blood gets outside the uterus through the fallopian tubes.
- Uterine abnormalities
Endometriosis develops during the reproductive years and ends permanently with menopause.
How to diagnose endometriosis?
Your doctor will perform a physical exam of your pelvis in search for abnormalities. He will perform an ultrasound to identify the presence of cysts on the ovaries.
Usually the laparoscopy is the best exam to diagnose endometriosis. It is a small intervention which necessitates the creation of a small cut in the tummy, next to the belly button and a thin telescope is introduced to look inside for any endometrial tissue outside the uterus. A biopsy is done on a small sample of tissue to help determine the best treatment.
What is the treatment?
There is no definite cure for endometriosis; however there are some interventions to treat the pain and infertility. The approach should be discussed with your doctor and it is related to the severity of signs and symptoms.
Your doctor may prescribe a pain killer such as an anti-inflammatory drug to ease the period pain. Hormones supplements are also effective to reduce the bleeding and the pain. It helps also to reduce the growth of endometrial cells and prevent the implant of new endometrial cells outside the uterine cavity.
In some cases, surgery is recommended to remove the abnormal cells and preserve your uterus and ovaries. This surgery can be done through laparoscopy. In severe cases a hysterectomy is needed. This surgery is considered the last option especially in young women at a reproductive age.
Endometriosis can affect any woman during the reproductive phase regardless of race or the number of children she has. The best way is to treat and manage properly the endometriosis. Always seek a doctor opinion if you have any symptom or sign of endometriosis.