What is endometriosis and why should you know about it? Endometriosis is a long-term issue that changes the tissue called endometrium that lines the uterus, according to Mayo Clinic. With endometriosis, the tissue can travel outside of the uterus or affect another area near it. This affects fertility and some women have chronic pain with certain bowel or bladder activities.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining your pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may attach to other locations, such as the bladder or intestines.
Endometriosis can cause pain — sometimes severe — especially during your period. Fertility problems also may develop.
Once diagnosed, you have a variety of treatment options to choose from. With proper treatment, many women with endometriosis are able to achieve relief from their symptoms and go on to have healthy pregnancies.
Types of Endometriosis
There are four types of endometriosis: superficial, ovarian, epididymal, and deep.
- Superficial endometriosis: is the most common type. It involves the lining of the pelvis and can be found on the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and outer surfaces of the uterus.
- Ovarian endometriosis is less common than superficial endometriosis. It occurs when endometrial tissue grows inside an ovary and forms a cyst called an “endometrioma.” Ovarian endometriosis can cause pain during sex, lower back pain, gastrointestinal symptoms, and Infertility.
- Epididymal endometriosis: is a rare type that affects the tissue around the testicles. It can cause pain in the testicles and scrotum.
- Deep endometriosis: is the least common type. It involves the muscles of the uterus and can be found in the rectum, bladder, vagina, or intestines. Deep endometriosis can cause intestinal obstruction or even infertility.
Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a medical condition that involves the tissue lining the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) growing outside of the uterus. The symptoms of endometriosis can vary from person to person and range from mild to severe. The most common symptom is pelvic pain, which can be debilitating. Other symptoms may include:
– Painful periods
– Pain during or after sex
– Abnormal bleeding or spotting
– gastrointestinal issues like diarrhea or constipation
– Urinary problems
While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments available that can help manage the symptoms and improve quality of life. If you think you may have endometriosis, it’s important to see your doctor for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan.
Causes of Endometriosis
There are many possible causes of endometriosis, but the exact cause is unknown. It is thought that endometriosis may be caused by a combination of genetic and environmental factors.
Some women are more at risk of developing endometriosis than others. Factors that may increase your risk of endometriosis include:
Having a mother or sister with endometriosis
having menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
starting your period at an early age (before age 12)
never having given birth
Certain medical conditions, such as autoimmune disorders, uterine abnormalities, and pelvic inflammatory disease, may also increase your risk of endometriosis.
Treatment of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a chronic and often painful condition in which the endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside of it. It most commonly affects the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis.
Although there is no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments that can help to relieve symptoms and improve fertility. Treatment options include medication, surgery, and complementary therapies.
Medications used to treat endometriosis include:
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): These can help to reduce pain and inflammation. NSAIDs include over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) and naproxen (Aleve).
Hormonal therapies: These work by decreasing the production of hormones that stimulate the growth of endometrial tissue. Hormonal therapies include oral contraceptives (birth control pills), progesterone therapy, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and antagonists.
Surgery: Surgery is typically reserved for cases of severe endometriosis or when other treatments have failed. There are several different types of surgical procedures that can be used to remove or destroy endometrial tissue. These include laparoscopy, laparotomy, robotic surgery, and ablation.
Complementary therapies: Complementary therapies such as acupuncture, massage therapy, and relaxation
Endometriosis is a complex and often painful condition that can have a major impact on a woman’s quality of life. While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments available that can help alleviate the symptoms and improve the quality of life for women with this condition. If you think you may be suffering from endometriosis, it is important to see your doctor so that you can get an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.