BLOG 283 ENDOMETRIOSIS
Symptoms of heavy menstrual cycles, infertility, and abdominal pain, may be due to the development of tissue lining outside the uterus. The area outside the uterus is called the endometrium. The key players for this condition are the ovaries, tissue lining the pelvis, and the Fallopian tubes. The tissue becomes displaced but still operates as if all is normal. Therefore, the tissue, just like during a period, thickens, breaks down, and bleeds. This displaced tissue has no way to exit the body and this trapped tissue can now cause problems. The ovaries can become involved and cysts can start to form. The existing healthy tissue can become irritated having to interact with the displaced tissue and scar tissue can form.
A person who has endometriosis has increased pelvic pain when having their menstrual cycle. Painful periods are called dysmenorrhea. Periods also have excessive bleeding and bleeding can occur between cycles. Also during this time, the low back can start to hurt. Sexual intercourse can be painful. Sometimes endometriosis is discovered when a woman goes to seek treatment for infertility. Bowel movements and urination can be painful too.
This condition can be caused by retrograde menstruation. This occurs when the endometrial cells flow back through the Fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body. Levels of estrogen can actually transform embryotic cells. It is possible that endometrial cells attach to areas that had a surgical incision such as a hysterectomy or C-section. Immune system disorders can cause this problem. The blood vessels might also carry endometrial cells to other parts of the body (endometrial cell transport).
Women who have never given birth, those going through menopause at an older age, those with high levels of estrogen, having a low body max index, or someone who started their period at an earlier age, are all at increased risk to develop this condition.
For diagnosis, a doctor can perform a pelvic exam, ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), and/or a laparoscopy (looking at the abdomen). Depending on the severity of the condition, a doctor will select the appropriate treatment. A doctor might recommend over the counter pain medication, surgery to remove the endometriosis implants, or hormone therapy. Birth control can actually help control the build up of endometrial tissue. Fertility treatment can be performed for those trying to get pregnant. Doctors used to perform hysterectomies as the main treatment for this condition, however, doctors are now focusing on removing the tissue rather than the ovaries.
Endometriosis is often hard to detect, but it can be helped. Discomfort is normal during a period but pain is not. Whenever the body is speaking, one should seek medical attention to find a solution. The displaced tissue should not wreck havoc on your health.