Endometriosis is a condition that affects a woman's reproductive organs. It occurs when cells similar to those that line the uterus are found in other parts of the abdomen.
Often women have questions about the effect of endometriosis on their bladder and bowel, fertility, emotional health and relationships. Knowing where to go for advice and support is important.
It can be hard trying to explain to your friends and family that your period pain is too intense to make plans, or that you can't predict one month to the next how much pain you will be in. Endometriosis pain can create strained relationships, as seeing partners, family and friends less frequently or having to change plans at the last minute can take its toll. This condition can leave you feeling vulnerable.
The more you can understand about the condition, the symptoms, and your treatment options, the better armed you will be to make the best decisions for your care and get back to living a normal life.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic estrogen dependent disease that can cause incapacitating pain, organ failure, infertility, and other severe medical consequences if not adequately treated.
How Does It Present?
Extreme pain during menstruation, Subfertility/infertility, excruciating pain during sexual intercourse, soring lower back, hip and leg pain, and severe bowel and bladder dysfunction are among other symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis.
What are Atypical Or Less Well-Known Symptoms?
It's important to note that some women, pre-teen, and teenage girls may not consistently experience the most well-known symptom of endometriosis: extremely painful periods. Women and girls may also experience acyclic chronic pelvic pain; that is, pain at any time during the month. In other cases, women and girls have no symptoms and don't know they have the disorder until years later when they're experiencing fertility issues.
What are the Endometriosis Risk Factors?
A woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is much more likely to develop endometriosis than other women.
You are also more likely to have endometriosis if you:
Started your period at a young age.
Never had children.
Have frequent periods or ones that last 7 or more days.
Have a closed or otherwise blocked hymen (imperforate hymen, congenital aplasia), which blocks the flow of menstrual blood out of your body during menstruation.
Have other uterine abnormalities such as a double uterus, septate uterus, or bicornuate uterus.
How Common Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is fairly common, affecting an estimated 10%-15% of women and girls, usually during their reproductive years.
Where Does Endometriosis Grow?
Endometriosis has been found in every organ and anatomical structure in the body except the spleen. However, the lower abdominal cavity (pelvic cavity).While less common, endometriosis can also grow in other areas, including on blood vessels, the cervix, diaphragm, lungs, nerves, ureters, vagina, and inside of cesarean or other surgical scars.Rare cases of endometriosis. Although exceedingly rare, endometriosis can even invade other vital organs and structures .
Why Is It Often So Painful?
Unlike normal endometrial cells found in the lining of the uterus, these errant endometriotic growths do not get expelled from your body each month as a period. Instead, they implant and begin reacting to the monthly hormones that trigger menstruation, causing them to bleed and shed and grow, month after month and year after year if left untreated. Although these endometriotic growths are benign (not cancer), it appears that the body still recognizes that they shouldn't be growing outside of the uterus, and therefore usually launches an inflammatory response in order to try to destroy them. As a result, the affected areas become extremely inflamed and therefore potentially extremely painful.
Is there a permanent cure for endometriosis?
Surgery does not cure endometriosis; lasers do not cure endometriosis; pregnancy does not cure endometriosis; hysterectomy does not cure endometriosis; menopause does not cure endometriosis; birth control pills do not cure endometriosis; dietary changes do not cure endometriosis. There is no cure for endometriosis.
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
As part of your initial diagnostic work-up, your .doctor usually starts with the following:
Review of medical history & symptoms.
Ultrasound with Color Doppler.
Laparoscopy with biopsy- the most specific for the diagnosis.
Can Diagnostic and operative laparoscopy perfomed on the same day?
Please note that, at our Center, we perform both a diagnostic and operative laparoscopy on the same day. This way, you can avoid having to undergo two surgical procedures.
Any alternatives forsurgery?
In mild symptoms - Exercise and relaxation techniques.
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), prescription painkillers to relieve cramping and pain
FOR MORE SERIOUS SYMPTOMS - For women who experience more severe symptoms, treatment options can include:
Prescription medications to control pain