Women's Health; Endometriosis, What It Is, Causes, Symptoms And Facts
Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is a gynaecological condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs.
Who gets Endometriosis?
The exact number of women who develop endometriosis isn’t known. This is because lots of women have endometriosis without signs, or with mild signs, and are never clinically determined. Investigations to diagnose endometriosis are only done if symptoms become troublesome and therefore are not eased by first treatments.
What are the causes of Endometriosis?
The exact cause is just not known but possible explanations include:
- Retrograde menstruation. In retrograde menstruation, menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body. These displaced endometrial cells stick to the pelvic walls and surfaces of pelvic organs, where they grow and continue to thicken and bleed over the course of each menstrual cycle.
- Transformation of peritoneal cells. In what's known as the "induction theory," experts propose that hormones or immune factors promote transformation of peritoneal cells — cells that line the inner side of your abdomen — into endometrial-like cells.
- Embryonic cell Growth. The cells lining this abdominal and pelvic cavities originated from embryonic cells. When several small areas of the abdominal lining turn into endometrial tissue, endometriosis can easily develop.
- Surgical scar implantation. After a surgery, such as a hysterectomy or C-section, endometrial cells may attach to a surgical incision.
- Endometrial cell transport. The blood vessels or tissue fluid (lymphatic) system may transport endometrial cells to other parts of the body.
- Immune system disorder. A problem with the immune system may make the body unable to recognize and destroy endometrial-like tissue that's growing outside the uterus.
Risk factors; several factors place you at greater risk of developing endometriosis, such as:
- Never giving birth
- Starting your period at an early age
- Going through menopause at an older age
- Short menstrual cycles — for instance, less than 27 days
- Heavy menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
- Having higher levels of oestrogen in your body or a greater lifetime exposure to oestrogen your body produces
- Low body mass index
- One or more relatives (mother, aunt or sister) with endometriosis
- Any medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body
- Reproductive tract abnormalities
Endometriosis usually develops several years after the onset of menstruation (menarche). Signs and symptoms of endometriosis may temporarily improve with pregnancy and may go away completely with menopause, unless you're taking oestrogen.
Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis might include:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping can start before and extend various days into your period and may include lower back as well as abdominal pain.
- Pain during Sexual intercourse. Pain during or after sex is normal with endometriosis.
- Pain during urination. You’re almost certainly to experience these symptoms during your period.
- Excessive bleeding. Chances are you’ll experience occasional heavy cycles (menorrhagia) or bleeding in between periods (menometrorrhagia).
- Infertility; Endometriosis is first diagnosed in a few women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
So how exactly does endometriosis progress?
If endometriosis is left without proper treatment, it becomes worse in about 4 in 10 cases. It gets better without treatment in about 3 within 10 cases. For the rest it stays a comparable. Endometriosis is not some sort of cancerous condition.
See your doctor if you have signs and symptoms that may indicate endometriosis. The cause of chronic or severe pelvic pain may be difficult to pinpoint. But discovering the problem early may help you avoid unnecessary complications and pain.