The Endometriosis Society of India estimates that 25 million (2.5crore) women are diagnosed with Endometriosis.
Endometriosis refers to a condition when the tissue that usually lines the inside of your uterus called Endometrium grows outside the uterus. This is an often-painful disorder with swelling, irritation, and scars at locations like ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic organs.
If you are experiencing any discomfort or excessive menstrual cramps, visit the best gynecology hospital in kukatpally, Hyderabad for treatment.
There are three main types of Endometrioses:
- Superficial peritoneal lesion
- Endometrioma (ovarian lesion)
- Deeply infiltrating Endometriosis
While Endometriosis can affect any pelvic organ, it is most common in the ovaries. This disorder causes Infertility problems. Fortunately, effective treatments are offered by skilled Obstetrics and Gynecology specialists.
What is the Cause of Endometriosis?
The cause of Endometriosis is not specific. According to some experts, Endometrial cells in menstrual blood may flow back via fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. These cells stick to the organs instead of going out of the body, and this condition is called Retrograde Menstruation.
The biological cause involves Endometrium, a special tissue that changes with every menstrual cycle. Under the stimulus of estrogen, the lining of the uterus grows and thickens in preparation for the possibility of pregnancy.
If fertilization does not occur, the tissue breaks down and sheds with menstrual bleeding, and the cycle starts over. But with Endometriosis, the blood and tissue residue has nowhere to escape.
This event irritates the adjacent tissues, causing irritation, Inflammation, scars, and sometimes adhesions. Endometriosis may cause varying symptoms and problems, but the most common complaint is pelvic pain, which can be various.
Symptoms of Endometriosis:
The primary symptom is associated with Menstrual pain, but women with Endometriosis will go through far worse pain than usual. The symptoms of Endometriosis vary based on the type and the affected organ among women.
- Back pain during period
- Severe menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- Pain when stooling or urinating, especially during the period
- Unusual or heavy bleeding during periods
- Blood in stool or urine
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Pain with intercourse
- Fatigue that will not go away
- Trouble getting pregnant
Endometriosis is sometimes mistaken with other pelvic pain conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or irritable bowel system (IBS). Just like pain is not a reliable sign to state the extent of the situation. Some will experience mild Endometriosis with severe pain, while others with little or no pain.
As you know, Endometriosis is often a painful disorder with a source of causes that bring risks and complications to one’s health. The more significant risks associated with developing Endometriosis are:
- Early menstruation (Starting the period at an early age)
- Late menopause (Going through menopause at an older age)
- Never giving birth
- Delayed pregnancy and conception
- Anatomic abnormalities and disorders of the reproductive tract
- Low body mass index
- Increased duration of flow during periods
- Short menstrual cycles, less than 27 days
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Elevated levels of estrogen in the body
- Family history with Endometriosis
The chief complication of Endometriosis is impaired fertility. Nearly one-third to one-half of women with Endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant. Women with Endometriosis are recommended not to delay having children because the condition may worsen with time.
The risk of ovarian cancer or another rare cancer called endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma, which develops later in life, is more significant with Endometriosis.
The doctors diagnose Endometriosis based on the symptoms like the focus of the pain or pain severity, but to confirm the physical clues, they do tests like:
During a pelvic exam, the doctor or gynecologist manually feels areas in the pelvis for abnormalities such as cysts and scars around the uterus and near pelvic organs.
An Ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan uses high-frequency sound waves to produce detailed images of the inside of the organs. These images help to identify the cysts associated with Endometriosis.
Laparoscopy involves the surgeon making a small incision at the navel to insert a laparoscope (a tiny duct with a camera on the end). This will reveal the signs of endometrial tissues or prominent lesions outside the uterus. It is usually the only way to be sure about Endometriosis.
The doctor takes a tissue sample, often during a laparoscopy, and a specialist looks at it under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis.
The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) classified Endometriosis stages into four stages. It is visualized with a points rating based on the results of the laparoscopy and the characteristics of the disease.
Stage I (five points or less)
In this stage, Endometriosis is considered “minimal.” Small lesions are evident with no scar tissue.
Stage II (six points to 15 points)
In this stage, Endometriosis is considered “Mild.” The lesions are visible within 2 inches in the abdomen with no scar tissue.
Stage III (16 points to 40 points)
Endometriosis is considered “Moderate” in this stage, with deep lesions and scar tissues around the ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Stage IV (more than 40 points)
In this stage, Endometriosis is considered “Severe.” There are many deep lesions, large cysts on ovaries, scar tissues around the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or between the uterus and lower intestines.
Endometriosis treatment depends on the symptoms and severe signs, including medication or surgery. Doctors first recommend opting for conservative treatment and then surgery if the initial treatment fails.
According to the doctor’s recommendation, over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen (Motrin IB, Advil others), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), and Aleve will help ease painful menstrual cramps.
Hormone therapy helps lower the ‘estrogen’ levels in the body and can stop the periods in women with Endometriosis. This will reduce the lesion’s blood flow, Inflammation, scars, and cysts formation.
Surgery is recommended to remove the most affected part. In severe cases, a surgery named hysterectomy is needed to remove the complete uterus and cervix. After this surgery, one cannot be pregnant again.
The Final Word
Women with Endometriosis will go through pain, discomfort, and mental pressure. But with diagnosis and treatment at the right time, one will recover and even reduce the risks and complications like infertility and cancer. Lifestyle changes like eating right, regular exercise, stress management, and alternate therapies like Acupuncture, Herbal medicine, Ayurveda, and Massage will assist the treatment and finding what helps you feel better.