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Endometriosis


Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that affects the women of reproductive age wherein the tissue that forms the uterine lining grows outside of the uterine cavity. The condition affects around 6-10% of women worldwide and is one of the major contributing factors for infertility. Endometriosis can develop anywhere in the body but usually affects the pelvic area that includes the ovaries, fallopian tubes & peritoneum.

During the menstrual cycle, the misplaced endometrial tissue tends to grow, thicken, and break, just like the normal endometrial lining. But the broken tissue can't be expelled out by the body and gets trapped in the pelvic region, causing immense pain, adhesions, and irritation.

There are four stages of endometriosis, namely minimal, mild, moderate, and severe. The condition starts with the development of small lesions and progresses to the formation of deep implants and scar tissues on the uterus, pelvic lining, and fallopian tubes in the severe stages.

endometriosis symptoms

Symptoms

Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. The other signs include:

  • Heavy menstrual bleeding

  • Painful periods

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Cramps and lower abdominal pain during the menstrual cycle

  • Infertility

  • Long term back pain

  • Prolonged periods

  • Discomfort with the bowel movement

  • Urinary problems

  • Fatigue

Causes

The exact cause for endometriosis is not known. The other contributing factors are

  • Surgical Scar – Surgeries like c-section and hysterectomy might cause scares and promote tissue growth

  • Hormones – Hormonal imbalance can also lead to the condition

  • Genetics – The condition can be inherited, and women are at a higher chance of developing the condition if it runs in the family.

 

Apart from the above, there might be many other causes that might lead to the development of endometriosis.

Diagnosis

A gynecologist can confirm the condition with the help of a pelvic examination, ultrasound, MRI, laparoscopy, and biopsy.

Treatment

Even though endometriosis has no cure, the symptoms can be managed, and the pain level can be brought down with the help of conservative treatment options like medications, hormone therapy, and hormonal contraceptives. Surgery is suggested as a last resort only when the nonsurgical treatment options are unsuccessful, or the condition has progressed to the final stage.

Authored By : DR RUCHI MALHOTRA, DGO DNB - Obstetrics & Gynecology