Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that normally lines the uterus, grows in locations outside the uterus.
This tissue, called endometrium, normally responds to the sex hormones oestrogen and progesterone. In women with endometriosis, the misplaced endometrial cells in the pelvic cavity also respond to these hormones.
During ovulation, the endometrium and the misplaced endometrial cells thicken. Unlike the endometrium, the misplaced endometrial cells cannot leave the body via menstruation. They bleed, cause inflammation and pain and then heal. Over time, this process can create scar tissue.
Endometriosis may cause very painful periods and may reduce fertility, but there are a number of treatment options.
The symptoms of Endometriosis
The pain of endometriosis can be so bad that it stops you from going anywhere. Usually, it causes pain around the time of your period, but for some women, the pain is almost constant. If you need treatment, you may need emotional as well as physical support.
The symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful periods
- Pain with sex
- Pelvic pain
- Ovulation pain
- Pain in the lower back and thighs
- Bowel symptoms
- Bladder symptoms
- Reduced fertility
- Nausea and lethargy
- Premenstrual syndrome (PMS).
Many women think that painful periods are normal. If you have bad period pain, you should see your doctor. The exact cause is unknown, but research suggests that retrograde menstruation and family susceptibility might be involved.
Diagnosis of Endometriosis
Diagnosis usually begins with a detailed medical history to help the doctor exclude other possible causes of your symptoms. Diagnosis of endometriosis can be difficult. The presence of typical symptoms of endometriosis and pain that does not improve with the usual medications for period pain can indicate the presence of the condition.
Endometriosis may not show up during an internal pelvic examination. Your doctor may need to refer you to a gynaecologist.
Treatment for Endometriosis
Endometriosis can be treated with medications or with surgery. Sometimes both medication and surgery are used. Some women also benefit from natural therapies.
Source: Better Health Channel
If you become concerned about any symptoms, please seek immediate medical attention. We have some hotlines and suggested websites for further information and advice – click here.
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