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Endometriosis: Causes, Symptoms and Treatment

Women Hopes | Mar 21, 2020

Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium which is the tissue that lines the inside of a woman’s uterus, grows outside it. This tissue behaves as regular uterine tissue does. During your period: It will break and bleed. But this blood has no place to go. Surrounding areas might become inflamed or swollen. Endometriosis is most common in one’s ovaries.

 

Endometriosis Symptoms

You might not notice any symptoms. When you have them, they can include:

  • Back pain during your period
  • Extreme menstrual cramps
  • Pain when defecating or urinating, especially during your period
  • Heavy bleeding during periods
  • Blood in your stool or urine
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Painful sex
  • Fatigue that won’t go away
  • Trouble In conceiving

 

Endometriosis Causes

There is no exact reason what causes endometriosis. Some doctors think menstrual blood that contains endometrial cells might pass back through your fallopian tubes and into your pelvic cavity, where the cells attach to your organs. This is called retrograde menstruation.

Genes can also play a role. If your mom or sister has endometriosis, you’re more prone to get it. Research shows that it is likely to get worse from one generation to the next.

 

Endometriosis Complications

Acute endometriosis pain can affect your quality of life. Some women battle with anxiety or depression. Medical treatments and mental health care could help. About 40% of women who have trouble conceiving have endometriosis. The inflammation harms the sperm or egg or makes it harder for them to move. Or scar tissue may block your fallopian tubes. Endometriosis also raises the risk of ovarian cancer or other cancer known as endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma.

 

Endometriosis Diagnosis

The doctor might suspect endometriosis based on symptoms. To confirm it, they can do tests including:

  • Pelvic exam. Your doctor may be able to feel cysts or scars at the back of your uterus.
  • Imaging tests. An ultrasound, a CT scan, or an MRI can make thorough pictures of your organs.
  • Laparoscopy. Your doctor makes a small incision in your belly and inserts a thin tube with a camera on the end. They can see the location and size of lesions. This is generally the only way to be totally sure that you have endometriosis.
  • Biopsy. Your doctor takes a small piece of tissue during laparoscopy and looks at it under a microscope to verify the diagnosis.

 

Endometriosis Treatments

There’s no cure for endometriosis. Treatments generally include surgery or medication. You might need to try various treatments to find what helps you feel better.

Pain medicine. Your doctor might recommend an over-the-counter pain reliever. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin) or naproxen (Aleve) work for many people. If these don’t relieve your pain, ask your doctor about other options.

Some other things you can do at home may help with pain:

  • Warm baths.
  • Using a hot water bottle or heating pad on your belly.
  • Exercise regularly.

Some women find that alternative therapies like acupuncture, diet changes, or homeopathy work for them. Before beginning one, talk to your doctor to be sure it won’t hamper other treatments.

Hormones. Hormonal therapy reduces the amount of estrogen your body produces and can stop your period. This helps lesions bleed less so to reduce inflammation, scarring, and cyst formation. Common hormones include:

  • Birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) -elagolix sodium (Orilissa) or leuprolide (Lupron)
  • Progestin-only contraceptives
  • Danazol (Danocrine)

Surgery

Your doctor might suggest surgery to take out as much of the affected tissue as possible. In some cases, surgery helps symptoms and can make you more likely to get pregnant. The doctor uses a laparoscope or does a standard surgery that uses larger cuts. Pain sometimes comes back after surgery.

 

In the most severe cases, you may need a surgery called a hysterectomy to take out your ovaries, uterus, and cervix. But without them, you can’t get pregnant later.

Endometriosis is a long-lasting condition with no cure. But this doesn’t mean the illness has to impact your daily life. Successful treatments are there to manage pain and fertility issues, such as medications, hormone therapy, and surgery. The symptoms of endometriosis generally improve after menopause.

 

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