Endometriosis can be misunderstood as simple bad periods, but it’s so much more than that. Endometriosis refers to the condition where tissue (similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus) grows in areas other than the uterine lining. It can cover your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. Moreover, it can cause pain, infertility, and abnormal periods that are hazardous to women’s health.
Where Endometriosis Can Occur
Endometriosis grows outside of the uterus, but the other most common sites of this tissue are:
- The ovaries
- The fallopian tubes
- The lining of the pelvic cavity
- Uterosacral Ligaments
- The space between the uterus and bladder; The Anterior
- The space between the uterus and rectum; The Posterior
Types of Endometriosis?
Let’s dig out what is Endometriosis and its types that commonly affects women during their reproductive ages, more likely between the ages of 15 to 49. However, it can start growing as early as a girl’s first period; there are three main types of Endometriosis a woman can encounter:
Superficial Perineal Lesion
The most common type of Endometriosis is where you have endometrial-like tissue outside the Uterus.
Endometrioma Ovarian Lesion
These are the fluid-filled “Chocolate Cysts” filled with menstrual blood; these cysts don’t respond well to treatment and can cause unpleasant symptoms.
Deeply infiltrating Endometriosis
The third type of Endometriosis grows 5 mm below the peritoneal surface, but it can also include organs such as bowels, ureters, and bladders. Deeply infiltrating Endometriosis (DIE) occurs in about 1 to 5 percent of women experiencing endometriosis.
Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Endometriosis can cause some painful symptoms, but it’s not the same for every patient. The primary symptom is pelvic pain which is often associated with the menstrual period, but with Endometriosis, the pain is worse than usual. A few common symptoms and signs of Endometriosis are:
- Painful periods
- Painful cramping
- Spotting or bleeding between periods
- Pain with intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Excessive bleeding
- Constant Fatigue
- Diarrhea or constipation,
- Bloating or Nausea, especially during menstrual periods
Meanwhile, the severity of any pain does not indicate the stage or degree of the Endometriosis condition; you can experience agonizing pain in the early stage and a little discomfort in severe stages.
Unfortunately, the major causes of Endometriosis are not certain; some possible explanations from medical experts are:
- Retrograde Menstruation: Menstrual blood that contains endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity, where the cells stick to your organs. They grow and continue to thicken and bleed throughout each menstrual cycle.
- Genes: Your genes and Endometriosis history in the family can also play a role, and you’re more likely to get it.
- Cell Transport: Theory suggests the blood vessels or maybe tissue fluid (Lymphatic) system transports the Endometrial Cells to other parts of the body, similar to the way cancer cells spread.
- Direct Transplantation: After a C-Section or Hysterectomy, the Endometrial Cells may attach to a surgical incision and cause Endometriosis.
The symptoms of Endometriosis can be similar to many other uterus-related conditions like ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease. Therefore it is important for your specialists to perform several medical exams for confirmation:
- Detailed Medical History: After listing your symptoms, the doctor will go through the personal or family history of endometriosis for general assessment.
- Pelvic Exam: During a pelvic exam, doctors will use a speculum and light to see the inside of the vagina and be able to feel cysts or scars behind your uterus.
- Imaging Tests: A CT scan, an ultrasound, or an MRI can provide detailed images of the reproductive organs, helping medical experts identify cysts associated with Endometriosis.
- Laparoscopy: It’s a minor surgical procedure for identifying endometriosis by viewing it directly; moreover, the jeopardized tissue can be removed in the same procedure.
- Biopsy: A sample of tissue is often taken during Laparoscopy and examined under a microscope to confirm the Endometriosis diagnosis.
Endometriosis And Fertility
According to studies, infertility is one of the major complications of Endometriosis; moreover, different medications are used for treatment, but they don’t improve fertility. Women have been able to conceive even after surgical removal of endometrial-like tissue. That’s why we discuss the best treatment options with patients if they plan to start a family. Once diagnosed with Endometriosis, our specialist can help you learn more about alternatives for conceiving or delaying pregnancy.
The Endometriosis treatment varies from patient to patient, its stage and type, and your doctor is best to determine which specific treatment will suit you. The patient wants quick relief from pain and other symptoms causing challenges in her day-to-day activities.
Endometriosis has no exact cure for endometriosis, but a few options include medication or surgery:
- Pain Medicine: Your doctor may recommend medications that can help manage pain, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB, others) and drugs to relieve painful menstruation
- Hormonal treatment: Taking supplemental hormones such as Gn-RH hormones, progestin therapy, or aromatase inhibitors lowers the amount of estrogen your body creates and helps limit the development of unwanted tissue.
- Hormonal Contraceptives: The contraceptives include Birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings, to eliminate pain in less severe endometriosis.
- Surgery: If no medication treatment works, the doctors may go for the surgery to remove the unwanted layer of tissue; sometimes, a Hysterectomy (the removal of both ovaries), is the best for a woman’s health.
Endometriosis not only affects your today’s life but also creates complications for the future. With many surgical and non-surgical options available, women should know about them before making the final call.
When to see a doctor
At USA Fibroid Centers, we prompt women to get regular gynecological exams if they feel any pain or experience irregular periods. Similar symptoms of uterine fibroids and endometriosis are often misdiagnosed, and many consider it as part of painful menstruation. Schedule an appointment at USA Fibroid Centers to seek early treatment for endometriosis, adenomyosis, or uterine fibroids, with our experienced medical specialist, who walks you through the non-surgical and best course of action for your treatment.