Endometriosis

Parentree-editors 2009-04-21 07:31:46

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition where the inner lining of the uterus called the endometrium grows outside the uterus and causes a lot of pain and excessive bleeding during the monthly cycle.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The symptoms vary from woman to woman and from mild to severe. They include:

  • Painful menstrual cycles - Many women experience piercing cramp like pangs or pain in their vagina, lower abdomen, back or rear pelvic area during their  periods.
  • Painful Intercourse - Some women find intercourse less pleasurable as they experience a lot of pain due to pressure on the side tissues that are affected by endometriosis.
  • Pelvic pain - Some women seem to suffer from severe pelvic pain even on normal days (not periods)
  • Painful urination
  • Vomiting or nausea before the periods
  • Swelling of the belly button
  • Swelling in the abdomen and painful bowel movements
  • Fatigue

Who can get endometriosis?

Endometriosis risk is higher

  • If one has really heavy periods
  • If the bleeding lasts for more than a week
  • If there is a history of this condition in the family
  • If menstruation started at a very early age
  • If other members of your family have it

This condition occurs only during the time when the woman’s menstrual system is active. After menopause, the abnormal endometrial implants outside the uterus will shrink in size and the symptoms associated with the disorder will gradually fade away.

How does endometriosis affect women?

The extremely painful periods can squeeze out the energy from the person and they will not be able to carry out their normal chores or attend work during that time, causing a lot of inconvenience and embarrassment.   Because of the pain that they experience during sex, they will start avoiding intercourse with their partner which might lead to a discord between the two. This reduced intercourse may also negatively affect the chances of becoming pregnant.

How does endometriosis affect fertility

Endometriosis is a reasonably common cause of infertility among women. Women with mild or moderate symptoms may take longer to conceive but those with severe symptoms should seek medical help quickly.

Is there a cure for endometriosis?

There is no absolute cure for this disorder or any prevention.   Researchers have not been able to single out why women get affected by endometriosis and hence cure or prevention is not possible but the situation can be tackled and the symptoms alleviated with proper advice and treatment from a doctor. 

If the woman is not trying to become pregnant, the methods of treatment include:

  • Pain management - natural methods like pranic healing, reiki etc., may work for mild symptoms
  • Pain medication - for mild symptoms
  • Hormone therapy - Contraceptive pills and/or GnRH drugs
  • Surgery - This involves laparoscopy or surgery to remove the growths surgically so that the pain is relieved.
  • Hysterectomy/Oophorectomy - Surgical removal of uterus and/or ovaries

If the woman is trying to become pregnant, the methods of treatment include:

  • Surgery - This involves laparoscopy or surgery to remove the growths surgically so that the pain is relieved.
  • Following surgery, artificial methods of conception can also be tried

Research shows that nearly half of the women who underwent laparoscopic surgery were able to become pregnant within 3 years of the procedure1.

References

1. Paolo Vercellini , Luigi Fedele , Giorgio Aimi , Olga De Giorgi , Dario Consonni , and Pier Giorgio Crosignani, "Reproductive performance, pain recurrence and disease relapse after conservative surgical treatment for endometriosis: the predictive value of the current classification system", Hum. Reprod. Advance Access published on October 1, 2006, DOI 10.1093/humrep/del230. Hum. Reprod. 21: 2679-2685.


 

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