Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissues lining the interior of the uterus grow outside the uterus, commonly enveloping the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other tissues lining the pelvis.

Under this condition, the surrounding tissues may feel discomfort and develop scar tissues and adhesions. This condition may cause infertility issues as well. Surgery is the only recommendation to clear the pelvic region of the endometrial layer.

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What is Endometriosis?


Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissues lining the interior of the uterus grow outside the uterus, commonly enveloping the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other tissues lining the pelvis.

In rare cases, it might extend beyond the pelvic region. It is an extremely painful condition. The tissue cannot extend beyond a certain point from the pelvic region and is trapped.

Under this condition, the surrounding tissues may feel discomfort and develop scar tissues and adhesions (These are abnormal fibrous tissues that can make other organs stick together). Endometriosis might also cause infertility.


What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?


Endometriosis can be very distinctly symptomatic. It is clear from the below symptoms -

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea).

  • The pelvic pain starts and continues well after the periods. The pain is excruciating and accompanies lower back and abdominal pain too.

  • Painful intercourse is common with endometriosis.

  • Pain while passing bowel movements or urination.

  • Excessive bleeding during menstrual cycles and in between two cycles.

  • Endometriosis can cause infertility as most of the time is diagnosed during infertility treatments.

  • Other symptoms are diarrhea, fatigue, nausea, bloating, or constipation during menstrual periods.

Often the most severe conditions may be less painful and otherwise, a mild condition could be very painful.

Endometriosis can be complicated with other types of pelvic pain including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cysts, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS- that causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal cramping).

IBS together with endometriosis can complicate the diagnosis.


When to consult a doctor?


If the symptoms of endometriosis are distinct, make sure to see a doctor to make a detailed diagnosis of the condition.

Complications can be painful and therefore should be addressed well in time.


What causes Endometriosis?


Endometriosis could be the result of - 

Retrograde Menstruation

Under this condition, the complications that can arise is the menstrual blood containing endometrial cells traverses back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity and surfaces over other pelvic organs, and continues to grow and bleed over the ongoing menstrual cycles. 

Transformation of peritoneal cells-

  • The inner cells of the abdomen through the induction theory can transform from peritoneal cells to endometrial cells.

  • Hormones like estrogen can transform an embryonic cell into endometrial cells during puberty.

  • After a hysterectomy or C-section, scar tissues may transform into endometrial cells.

  • Blood vessels or tissue fluid systems may supply endometrial cells to other parts of the body.

  • A disorder of the immune system might be unable to recognize and kill the endometrial like tissues outside of the uterus.


What are the Risk factors with Endometriosis?


Endometriosis can be a risk when -

  • The patient has never given birth before.

  • When the menstrual period starts at a very early age.

  • Delayed menopause.

  • Menstrual cycles are less than 27 days.

  • Heavy and longer menstrual periods.

  • High levels of estrogen release.

  • Family history of endometriosis.

  • Abnormal reproductive tract.

  • Complications

  • Cancer: Patients with endometriosis have higher chances of Ovarian cancer.

  • Infertility

Women with endometriosis are known to have infertility issues.

For pregnancy to affect the egg has to traverse the fallopian tubes and meet with the sperm, fertilize and attach to the uterine wall. 

Endometriosis blocks the tube and prevents the egg and sperm from uniting. The condition also damages the sperm or egg.

There are cases where despite the endometriosis, a woman might conceive and deliver.


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