Did you know endometriosis can be found to be the cause in up to 50% of infertile women? It is also thesecond cause which causes infertility worldwide. It is a challenging condition with which women are right now dealing and the worst part is that its sign can easily be misinterpreted.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder which occurs when the growth of tissue resembling theendometrium (uterine lining) develops in places other than the uterus cavity or the muscles of the uterus (myometrium), in which case it is called internal genital endometriosis. Sometimes it causes scarring that may involve the ovaries and blockage of the tubes. In some women, this disease occurs deep beneath the peritoneal lining causing more severe pain, but not necessarily infertility.
Simpler said, at the end of each menstrual cycle, when hormones cause the uterus to shed the endometrial lining, the tissue building outside the uterus will breakdown and start bleeding. Yet, unlike the menstrual fluid which is cleared from the body during menstruation, the blood found out-of-place of the tissue has nowhere to go. This causes inflammation and scar tissue.
What are the causes and how does the disease manifest?
It’s difficult to discuss the causes of endometriosis because they are mostly unknown. The disease is the prerogative of young women in their reproductive period and it is heavily influenced by the presence of estrogen hormones and not only. There are several etiopathogenic theories including the retrograde menstruation theory, transplanting metaplasia peritoneum and other medical conditions. It is also believed that this illness runs in families.
Another down side is that the symptoms are unclear which means it is not right away detectable and, in most cases, it is found too late. Any woman who are going through their reproductive life and have significant pelvic pain and menstrual disorders, should be suspected of endometriosis. Some of the most common symptoms are agonizing and heavy periods, pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis or lower back, cramps and sometimes bleeding between periods may occur. Though these are some of the indicators, endometriosis is usually asymptomatic.
How can it be detected and what treatment options are there?
A transvaginal ultrasound can detect cysts on the ovaries indicating signs of endometriosis, but their absence does not cancel the diagnosis. The tests to check for physical clues that may indicate this disease include a pelvic exam in order to try and get the best view of your reproductive organs or a laparoscopy which will determine, if it’s the case, the exact location, extent and size of the endometrial grafts.
If you are experiencing these pains and disorders, it is important you go see a specialist right away. You can alleviate the symptoms with oral contraceptives, “progesterone only pills” are known to help substantially. You can also take regular painkillers, but pay extra attention at the dosage, take them only in individualized combinations. In matters of home remedies, you can always take a warm bath or use a heating pad to relieve the pain and you can add some regular exercises to your routine to improve them. Some women dealing with this condition have reported pain relief after acupuncture treatment.
The standard treatment for this medical condition involves medication or surgery, depending on the severity of the case and your doctor’s approach. Usually, you will get a recommendation of pain medications, hormone therapy or more invasive techniques (conservative surgery, assisted reproductive technology or hysterectomy).
It is particularly difficult to cope with this disease especially when you are trying to conceive, but you need to know that you can fight it.