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What is Endometriosis?

Updated: Apr 20, 2021

Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue similar to the tissue that lines the uterus(womb), starts to grow outside the uterus and invades other places like the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. This tissue is called the endometrium. (NHS)

Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women, of all ages. That's approximately 176 million women worldwide. Endometriosis is the number one cause of infertility in women, affecting 30-50% of women ( Endometriosis if left untreated can be life-threatening.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

It is an individualized condition and affects women differently. The symptoms of this disorder vary in women, it may be severe with little pain for some and mild with excruciating pain for others.

Some of the symptoms include :

  • Bloating

  • Infertility

  • Feeling sick

  • Severe period pain

  • Heavy menstrual flow

  • Constipation/diarrhoea

  • Pain during sexual intercourse

  • Pain when weeing/pooing during your period

  • Pelvic pain is usually worse during menstruation.

Causes of Endometriosis

Although the cause of this disorder is still unknown, several theories have been suggested it could include:

Genetics: It could be hereditary passed on through family members.

Immune system disorder: Some women have an impaired immune system and are unable to fight endometriosis.

Retrograde menstruation: The menstrual blood containing endometrial cells does not flow out of the body as expected but flows back up the fallopian tubes and ovaries.

Diagnosis of Endometriosis

Diagnosing endometriosis can be difficult for most women and can take approx 7.5 years to diagnose. Research states, it can be up to 10 years for some women.

If you experience any of the symptoms above, consult your gynaecologist for appropriate tests, diagnoses, and treatment.

A series of tests are conducted and may include one or more of the following:

  • Pelvic exam.

  • Ultrasound scan(abdominal/transvaginal).

  • MRI: Provides a detailed image of the organ and tissues.

  • Laparoscopy: A camera is inserted through the abdomen to examine the uterus and surrounding organs.

Treatment of Endometriosis

There is no known cure and treatment is usually prescribed to ease symptoms and improve quality of life.

The most common treatments are:

  • Painkillers: Paracetamol and NSAID's (ibuprofen, felvin, naproxen)

  • Hormone medication aimed to reduce the amount of oestrogen in your body as oestrogen encourages the growth of endometriosis tissue.

  • Surgical intervention to remove the excess tissues on the affected organs in severe cases.

Suspect you may have endometriosis, speak with your gynaecologist for advice.

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