101 Endometriosis | All things You need to know about Endometriosis
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disease in which the endometrium (the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus or womb) is present outside of the uterus. Endometriosis most commonly occurs in the lower abdomen or pelvis, but it can appear anywhere in the body. Symptoms of endometriosis include lower abdominal pain, pain with menstrual periods, pain with sexual intercourse, and difficulty getting pregnant. On the other hand, some women with endometriosis may not have any symptoms at all.
Approximately 10% of reproductive-aged women have endometriosis. However, the true prevalence is unknown since the diagnosis requires laparoscopy (a surgery where a doctor looks in the abdomen with a camera through the ) to visualize and biopsy endometriosis lesions. Endometriosis is seen in 12-32% of women having surgery for pelvic pain, and in up to 50% of women having surgery for infertility. Endometriosis is rarely found in girls before they start their period, but it is seen in up to half of young girls and teens with pelvic pain and painful periods.
What Are The 4 Stages Of Endometriosis?
What are the stages of endometriosis?
Endometriosis is classified into one of four stages (I-minimal, II-mild, III-moderate, and IV-severe) based upon the exact location, extent, and depth of the endometriosis implants as well as the presence and severity of scar tissue and the presence and size of endometrial implants in the ovaries. Most cases of endometriosis are classified as minimal or mild, which means there are superficial implants and mild scarring. Moderate and severe endometriosis typically result in cysts and more severe scarring. The stage of endometriosis is not related to the degree of symptoms a woman experiences, but infertility is common with stage IV endometriosis.
Why Is Endometriosis Associated With Pain?
When a woman with endometriosis has her period, she has bleeding from both the cells and tissue inside the uterus, and also from the cells and tissue outside the uterus. When blood touches these other organs inside the abdomen, it can cause inflammation and irritation, creating pain. Scar tissue can also develop from the endometriosis and contribute to the pain.
Why Is Endometriosis Associated With Infertility?
Endometriosis and Fertility Between 20 and 40% of women with infertility will have endometriosis. Endometriosis likely impairs fertility in two ways: first, by causing distortion of the fallopian tubes so that they are unable to pick up the egg after ovulation, and second, by creating inflammation that can adversely affect the function of the ovary, egg, fallopian tubes or uterus.
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Diagnosing Endometriosis Some physicians may treat suspected endometriosis based on a woman’s symptoms or physical examination findings to see if they improve without proceeding to surgery. However, to formally diagnose endometriosis, a doctor must perform laparoscopy (surgery in which a doctor looks in the abdomen with a camera through the belly button) to visualize and biopsy suspected endometriosis lesions. Endometriosis lesions can vary in appearance. “Endometrioma” is the term for endometriosis within an ovary, and is often nicknamed “chocolate cyst” because the material inside the cyst looks like chocolate syrup.
How Is Endometriosis Treated?
Endometriosis Treatment The most conservative therapy for endometriosis is with medications. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications, like ibuprofen, may help with the pain associated with endometriosis. Medications that control a woman’s hormones may also help with endometriosis pain. Some examples are oral contraceptive pills and gonadotropin releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, the latter of which put women into a “temporary” menopause-like state.
If a woman with endometriosis is having trouble getting pregnant, there are different medications and treatments available that can help her to become pregnant For information about our fertility and reproductive health services.
What Happens If Endometriosis Is Left Untreated ?
The complications of endometriosis vary. Some women experience mild symptoms, but others can have moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of your pain doesn’t indicate the degree or stage of the condition. You may have a mild form of the disease yet experience agonizing pain. It’s also possible to have a severe form and have very little discomfort.
- Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. You may also have the following symptoms.
- Painful periods.
- Pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation.
- Cramps one or two weeks around menstruation heavy menstrual bleeding.
- Discomfort with bowel movements.
- Lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle
You may also have no symptoms/complications. It’s important that you get regular gynecological exams, which will allow your gynecologist to monitor any changes. This is particularly important if you have two or more symptoms.
Does Endometriosis Cause Weight Gain
Endometriosis causes endometrial tissue, which usually lines the uterus, to develop outside of the uterus. It can cause chronic pain, heavy or irregular periods, and infertility. Some people also report weight gain and bloating.
Endometriosis: Risk Factor For Ovarian Cancer?
Some studies have postulated that women with endometriosis have an increased risk for development of certain types of ovarian cancer , known as epithelial ovarian cancer (EOC). This risk is highest in women with both endometriosis and primary infertility (those who have never conceived a pregnancy). The use of combination oral contraceptive pills (OCPs), which are sometimes used in the treatment of endometriosis, appears to significantly reduce this risk.
The reasons for the association between endometriosis and ovarian epithelial cancer are not clearly understood. One theory is that the endometriosis implants themselves undergo malignant transformation to cancer . Another possibility is that the presence of endometriosis may be related to other genetic or environmental factors that serve to increase a women’s risk of developing ovarian cancer.