October 08 2021
What is endometriosis?
Okay, so imagine a tissue similar to the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside the uterine cavity. This condition is called endometriosis. It is called endometriosis cause the lining of the uterus is called the endometrium and the similar tissue is growing outside the uterine cavity.
Endometrial tissue can grow in the ovaries, bowel and tissues lining the pelvis. Usually, the endometrial tissue does not spread beyond the pelvic region. However, it's possible the other way also. Endometrial tissue that grows outside the uterus is termed as an endometrial implant.
This displaced endometrial tissue is affected by the hormonal changes of a woman's menstrual life cycle resulting in an inflamed and painful area. The tissue will grow, thicken and then will break. Over some time, the tissue that has broken down has nowhere to go and is trapped in the pelvis.
Now, what complications can this trapped tissue cause? It can cause irritation, scar formation, adhesions, fertility problems. In Adhesion, tissue binds your pelvic organs together leading to severe pain during menstruation.
Endometriosis affects 10 per cent of women. So if you have this order, don't be afraid. You are not at all alone.
Symptoms of endometriosis
The symptoms of endometriosis vary. While some women experience mild symptoms others can have moderate or severe symptoms. But do remember that severity if the pain does not indicate the stage of the condition. It means that you might have a mild disease but still experiencing agonizing pain. Also, it might be that you have a severe form of the disease, yet you might have a little discomfort.
Mostly, women experience pelvic pain. Following are some other symptoms of the gynaecological disorder:
- Pain in the lower abdomen before and during periods
- painful periods
- cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
- discomfort with bowel movements
- pain after sexual intercourse
- Lower back pain
It's worth noting here that it is possible that you might not experience any of the symptoms of the disease. And hence it becomes important to visit your doctor for regular gynaecological exams. If you experience two or more symptoms, this will allow a gynaecologist to monitor the changes.
Treatment of endometriosis
Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis. But what we can do is that we can manage its symptoms so that you get quick relief from pain and other symptoms of endometriosis. The condition that is left untreated can disrupt your life.
You may go for medical and surgical options for the management of your symptoms. However, in the initial stage of the disease, your doctor may recommend you to try the conservative treatment. And if your condition does not improve them, then the doctor may recommend your surgery.
Every woman has a different reaction to various treatment options. Your doctor will help you to determine the best treatment option that works best for you.
In the early stage of the disease, you might find the disease difficult to handle due to fertility issues, pain and fear that there is no relief. It might be frustrating to get a diagnosis and treatment options. But try educating yourself more about the condition. This will give you the strength and motivation to go forward with any available treatment options.
Pain medication: In some cases, over the counter drugs like ibuprofen for pain relief can be effective.
Supplemental hormones can relieve pain and stop the progression of the disease.
You can also check Alvizia Evening primrose oil that is might be helpful in relieving pain due to endometriosis.
They decrease fertility by preventing monthly growth and build-up of endometrial tissue.
In mild or moderate endometriosis, birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings can prove to be beneficial in eliminating pain.
Depo Provera or medroxyprogesterone injection can also prove to be of help to stop menstruation. It puts a stop to the endometrial implant growth. Also, it relieves pain and other symptoms of menstruation.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) Agonist and antagonist
The hormone that is responsible for female sexual characteristics is estrogen. If the estrogen is blocked, then there will be no menstruation and artificial menopause is created.
Another medication to stop menstruation and reduce symptoms is Danazol. Danazol can have side effects like acne and hirsutism.
If hormone replacement does not work or you are experiencing severe pain then you can have a conservative surgery wherein the endometrial growths will be destroyed without damaging reproductive organs.
Laparoscopy: It is the surgery that is used to both visualize and diagnose endometriosis. Nowadays lasers are used to destroy this "out of place" tissue.
The exact cause as to why endometriosis happens is still not known. Nevertheless, there are many theories regarding the cause of the disease, yet none of them has been scientifically proven.
There is this theory called retrograde menstruation. The theory states that endometriosis is the result of retrograde menstruation when the menstrual blood flows back through the fallopian tube into the pelvic cavity instead of again.
Another theory states that the hormones transform the cells outside the uterus into cells similar to the endometrium and these cells are termed as endometrial cells.
Another theory says that endometriosis happens because small areas of abdomen convert into endometrial tissue. And this might happen because cells in the abdomen grow from embryonic cells. But why they grow into endometrial cells is not known.
The other theory says that endometrial cells are transported from the uterus through lymphatics. And some believe that endometriosis is the result of a faulty immune system that is not destroying errant endometrial cells.
Apart from the above theories, there are many other theories as well that relate to the cause of endometriosis.
Though there is no cure for endometriosis, that doesn't mean that it has to impair your daily life. Many treatment options are available that can manage the pain and fertility problems, including medications, surgery and hormone therapy. Also, it is seen that after menopause the symptoms of endometriosis usually improve.