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What is Endometriosis?

By  , Expert Content
Feb 17, 2012
4.8 / 5(4 Ratings)

Endometriosis is a common condition that affects millions of women in the reproductive age. It is often apainful disorder, which occurs when normal endometrial tissue (tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus) grows outside the uterus. This misplaced tissue in most cases implants itself and grow anywhere within the abdominal cavity-- commonly involves your ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining your pelvis. But in some cases it may spread beyond the pelvic region.

The displaced endometrial tissue in women with endometriosis, behaves like the lining of the uterus—it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. As the displaced tissue and bleeding has no way to exit from the body, it becomes trapped. Repeated cycles of bleeding cause the surrounding tissue can to become irritated, and eventually scar tissue and adhesions develop which may cause abnormal adhesion in the abdomen and pelvic region. This process can cause symptoms of endometriosis such as pain (varying in severity) especially during your period.

Symptoms of endometriosis

Symptoms of endometriosis vary from woman to another. Some women have no symptoms at all whereas others may have severe pain. Some of the common signs and symptoms of endometriosis are:

  • painful or heavy periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen, pelvis or lower back
  • pain during sex
  • bleeding in between periods
  • fertility related problems.


Treatment for endometriosis

Treatment for endometriosis includes medications or surgery. Your doctor will start with medications and surgery is usually the last option. Treatment is influence by many factors which include the severity of your signs and symptoms and whether you hope to become pregnant.

Pain medications: Over-the-counter pain reliever, such as ibuprofen may be given to reduce painful menstrual cramps

Hormone therapy: Hormone therapy is at times effective in reducing or controlling pain of endometriosis. Commonly prescribed hormonal therapies for treatment of endometriosis are:

  • Hormonal contraceptives such as birth control pills, patches and vaginal rings
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists
  • Danazol
  • Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)
  • Aromatase inhibitors.


Conservative surgery

If you desire to have children in the future and the symptoms are not controlled with medication you may be recommended surgery to remove endometrial implants. Women with severe endometriosis, may be recommended hysterectomy (surgery to remove the uterus and cervix). The ovaries are also removed as hysterectomy alone is not effective.

 

 

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