Endometriosis is a gynecological condition where tissues similar to that of the uterine lining grow in other body parts. When this tissue grows in inappropriate places, you can experience uncomfortable symptoms that can hamper your daily life. They can also cause ovarian cysts, deeper nodules, superficial lesions, scar tissue, and adhesions within your body.
A few places where endometriosis occurs include fallopian tubes, outside and back of the uterus, vagina, ovaries, bladder and ureters, peritoneum, rectum, intestines, and the diaphragm.
Endometriosis is a relatively common condition that tends to negatively impact the life of the affected person. It can result in long-term pain, fertility issues, and disruptions to your menstrual cycle. The symptoms of endometriosis can often be managed with treatment.
Endometriosis commonly affects females between 25 to 40 years of age. It can also occur in younger people during their teenage years. Even though many females get relief from the symptoms of endometriosis after menopause, it can still lead to pain and discomfort.
The presence of certain risk factors can place you at a higher risk of developing the disease. Following are some of those risk factors:
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known. When someone has the disease, the uterine tissue starts growing in the wrong place. When it grows in places beyond the uterine cavity, ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, or within the pelvic cavity, it can lead to painful symptoms. This pain is associated with increased inflammation and often adhesions and fibrosis.
When the tissue that resembles the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, it results in the formation of scar tissue or adhesions. These scar tissue sections can lead to the fusion of the organs and create abnormal connections between time. All this results in pain and discomfort. The following are the main causes of endometriosis:
Many symptoms are associated with endometriosis, of which the main symptom is pain. This pain can either be mild or intense and can be typically felt in your pelvic region, abdomen, or lower back. Although endometriosis is a relatively common medical condition, not all people experience painful symptoms. Some patients have the disease and don’t even notice it until it is accidentally found when performing an investigation or procedure for other problems such as infertility.
The common symptoms of endometriosis include extremely painful menstrual cramps, pain during sexual intercourse, back pain or abdominal pain during or in between periods, heavy menstrual bleeding or spotting between periods, painful bowel movements, and infertility. There is no link between the symptoms of endometriosis and its severity. Some pain has a mild degree of endometriosis and still experience pain, while others with severe endometriosis do not experience significant pain.
As mentioned earlier, many patients with endometriosis experience pain during menstrual periods. This pain is usually felt in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvic area. Periods can also be heavier than before, with spotting in between the cycles.
Many cases of endometriosis are diagnosed on the basis of the symptoms. Heavy and painful menstrual periods cause many patients to reach their healthcare providers. During the appointment, the doctor usually starts asking about the medical and personal history, history of previous pregnancies and family history of endometriosis. You may also be suggested to undergo a pelvic examination. If more information is required, your healthcare provider will most likely perform pelvic imaging starting with an ultrasound.
On the basis of your symptoms, physical examination, and ultrasound reports, your healthcare provider may order an MRI for further endometriosis mapping. A laparoscopy may be performed both for definitive diagnosis and treatment. It can serve as a useful way of confirming endometriosis as the surgeon uses a small camera called a laparoscope during the procedure to take out a small tissue sample of the suspected area, which is then sent to a laboratory for further evaluation.
Sometimes endometriosis is diagnosed accidentally. Every patient with endometriosis does not experience symptoms. In these circumstances, the condition might be discovered during a different procedure.
After evaluating your condition, your healthcare provider will help formulate a treatment plan for your condition on the basis of a few factors, such as the severity of the endometriosis, the plan for future pregnancies, the severity of your symptoms, and your age. The main focus of your treatment plan will be to manage your pain and improve your fertility problems. This can be achieved through medications and surgery.
Endometriosis is a chronic disease, and even though many patients experience relief from their symptoms after surgery, those can recur after a few years. The severity of your condition is a deciding factor in determining how quickly it comes back after surgery. Sometimes, surgery is combined with medications to ensure an optimum outcome. Sometimes, pelvic floor exercises are also recommended to relieve central nerve pain.
Over a period of time, the endometrial-like tissue growing outside the uterus can develop cysts, scar tissue, and adhesions. This can result in long-term pain, especially during menstrual periods. Many endometriosis patients may also face difficulties getting pregnant. This issue can sometimes be resolved with treatment.
As a female age goes through menopause, the symptoms of endometriosis tend to improve. This is due to the hormonal changes that a female undergoes during menopause.
If you are experiencing any of the symptoms of endometriosis, as mentioned above, you must consult an expert. If you are located in Indore, you can visit the Endometriosis Clinic at Kokilaben Dhirubhai Ambani Hospital, Indore and book an appointment with an expert doctor who will guide you to the next step. You must not assume that you may experience significant pain for the problem to be severe. Even if you are experiencing mild to moderate pain, you might still have the disease. The severity of the problem is not decided by the intensity of your pain.
As other diseases like ovarian cysts, irritable bowel syndrome, and pelvic inflammatory disease have the same symptoms as endometriosis, those are sometimes confused with these. All of these diseases should be taken seriously, and a doctor’s consultation can help prevent potential complications.