What Is Endometriosis?

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is when the tissue that makes up the uterine lining starts growing on other organs in your body. Endometriosis is typically found in the lower abdomen or pelvis, but can appear anywhere in the body. Women who suffer from endometriosis often have pain in the lower abdomen when they’re on their periods or having sexual intercourse. Some who suffer from this condition, may report having a harder time getting pregnant. On the other hand, some women with endometriosis may not have any symptoms at all.

Endometriosis Symptoms:

Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis:

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)- Pelvic pain and cramping can begin before your period and extend several days into your period. You may also experience lower back and abdominal pain.
  • Painful intercourse– Pain during sex is very common if you suffer from endometriosis.
  • Painful bowel movements or urination– You’re most likely to experience these symptoms during your period.
  • Excessive bleeding– heavy periods or bleeding in between periods may occur.
  • Infertility– Some women find out about their endometriosis when they are seeking infertility treatment.
  • Other symptoms- You may experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea. This can happen during your menstrual periods.

Some women experience intense pain, while others may have little or no pain at all. This is why pain isn’t always a reliable indicator of the extent of your condition.

Endometriosis may be mistaken for a few other conditions, such as:

  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or ovarian cysts.
  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), which causes diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping.
  • IBS can accompany endometriosis, which can complicate your diagnosis.  

Causes of Endometriosis:

The exact cause of endometriosis is not certain, but these are possible explanations:

  • Retrograde menstruation- Menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through your fallopian tubes and into your pelvic cavity instead of out of your body. These endometrial cells stick to your pelvic walls and surfaces of pelvic organs, where they grow and continue to thicken and bleed throughout your menstrual cycle.
  • Transformation of peritoneal cells- Experts propose that hormones or immune factors help the transformation of peritoneal cells into endometrial cells.
  • Embryonic cell transformation- Your blood vessels or tissue fluid system can transport endometrial cells to other parts of your body.
  • Immune system disorder– It’s possible that a poor immune system or a problem with your immune system can make your body unable to recognize and destroy endometrial tissue that’s growing outside your uterus.

Ways to Diagnose Endometriosis

Your doctor will ask you to describe your symptoms, such as the level and location of your pain and when it occurs.

  • Pelvic exam- Your doctor will manually feel the areas in your pelvis. He’s checking for abnormalities, like cysts on your reproductive organs or scars behind your uterus.
  • Ultrasound- High-frequency sound waves are used to create images of the inside of your body. A transducer is either pressed against your abdomen or inserted into your vagina. Both types of ultrasounds can be used to get views of your reproductive organs. These ultrasounds won’t definitely tell if you have endometriosis, but they can identify cysts that are associated with endometriosis.
  • Laparoscopy-  Other options are usually tried first, but your doctor may refer you to a surgeon to look inside your abdomen for signs of endometriosis.

Treatments for Endometriosis

Your doctor may recommend some of these treatments, but consult with your medical professional before trying any of these treatments:

  • Pain medications– Your doctor may recommend that you take an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • Hormone therapy- Supplemental hormones can be effective in reducing or eliminating endometriosis pain. Hormone medication can slow down endometrial tissue growth and prevent new implants of this tissue.

Call Urology Experts Today

If you or someone you know is experiencing pelvic pain or abdominal pain during your period, please contact us. We are passionate about restoring your health and finding solutions for you.

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