ENDOMETRIOSIS: Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

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endometriosis
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterine cavity. In order words it is a disease in which the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside it. The lining of your uterus is called the endometrium.
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium grows on your ovaries, bowel and tissues lining your pelvis. It’s unusual for endometrial tissue to spread beyond your pelvic region, but it’s not impossible. Endometrial tissue growing outside of your uterus is known as an endometrial implant.
Endometriosis is estimated to occur in roughly 6–10% of women. It is most common in those in their thirties and forties. It can have both social and psychological effects. It results in few deaths with this being estimated at 200 globally in 2013.

Symptoms are:

About 25% of women have no symptoms, but the common symptoms are:
  • Pelvic pain – nearly half of those affected have chronic pelvic pain, while in 70%, pain occurs during menstruation.
  • Pain during sex and exercise are common
  • Urinary or bowel
  • Irritation
  • Abdominal pain
  • Diarrhea or constipation
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Headaches
  • Heavy or irregular periods
  • scar formation
  • Adhesions, in which tissue binds your pelvic organs together.
  • severe pain during your periods
  • fertility problems
  • infertility (occurs in up to half of women affected)

   Risk factors
  • Genetics – include having a family history of the condition. (Daughters or sisters of women with endometriosis are at a higher risk of developing endometriosis themselves)
  • The ovaries, fallopian tubes and tissue around the uterus and ovaries are affected and in other parts of the body.
  • The areas of endometriosis bleed each month, resulting in inflammation and scarring.
  • irritable bowel syndrome and intestinal cystitis

Causes

Although the exact cause of endometriosis is not certain, several possible explanations include:
  • Retrograde menstruation. This is the most likely explanation for endometriosis whereby menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body.
  • Embryonic cell growth.The cells lining the abdominal and pelvic cavities come from embryonic cells. When one or more small areas of the abdominal lining turn into endometrial tissue, endometriosis can develop.
  • Surgical scar implantation. After a surgery, such as a hysterectomy or C-section, endometrial cells may attach to a surgical incision.
  • Endometrial cells transport. The blood vessels or tissue fluid (lymphatic) system may transport endometrial cells to other parts of the body.
  • Immune system disorder. It’s possible that a problem with the immune system may make the body unable to recognize and destroy endometrial tissue that’s growing outside the uterus.

Diagnosis

A health history and a physical examination can help the medical doctor to suspect endometriosis. Doctors can also often feel the endometrial growths during a pelvic exam although diagnosis cannot be confirmed by exam only. Use of pelvic ultrasound may identify large endometriotic cysts (called endometriomas) but smaller endometriosis implants cannot be visualized with ultrasound technique.

Prevention

Limited evidence indicates that the use of combined oral contraceptives is associated with a reduced risk of endometriosis.

 credits - diamondwoman

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