Endometriosis : It's Much more Than Painful Periods!

What is Endometriosis ?

Endometriosis, is a common health problem in women. It gets its name from the word endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb. When

Endometrium tissue starts to grows outside of your uterus and on other areas in your body where it doesn't belong the condition is referred to as Endometriosis.Lesions are characterized as estrogen-dependent, benign, inflammatory, stem-cell driven and at times progressive with diffuse fibrosis, deep infiltration, and resistance to apoptosis (cell death) and progesterone.

Most often, endometriosis is found on the:

  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Tissues that holds the uterus in place
  • Outer surface of the uterus

Other sites for growths include the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum. It rarely appears in other parts of the body, such as the lungs, brain, and skin.

What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?

  • Pain. This is the most common symptom. Women with endometriosis may have many different kinds of pain. These include:
    • Very painful menstrual cramps. The pain may get worse over time.
    • Chronic (long-term) pain in the lower back and pelvis
    • Pain during or after sex. This is usually described as a "deep" pain and is different from pain felt at the entrance to the vagina when penetration begins.
    • Intestinal pain
    • Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods.
  • Bleeding problems It may be in the form of excessive bleeding during periodsor spotting in between the periods.
  • Infertility, or not being able to get pregnant.
  • Stomach (digestive) problems. These include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.
  • Urinary problems it may be in the form of pain during urination,increased frequency etc.
  • 25% of the females may be asymptomatic.

What causes Endometriosis?

Definite cause for the diseases is still unknown. Possible causes are sketched as

· Genetic factor

· Hormonal imbalance

How can I prevent Endometriosis?

One cannot prevent it, however long term use of birth control hormones helps in preventing the progression of disease

How is it treated?

Treatment depends upon the severity of symptoms and also depends on whether the patient is planning for pregnancy or not.

Medical management

  • Combined oral contraceptive pills
  • Progesterone tablets
  • Levonorgesterol releasing intra uterine system
    • Gonadotrophin releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues

Surgical management

Laproscopy ( removal of patches of enometriotic tissue)

Hystrectomy (when family is complete and symptoms are very severe ,not responding to other treatment options)

Is it possible to get pregnant with Endometriosis?

Answer is Yes. But it may be a bit harder.