What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis, also known as ‘endo’, is a prevalent health issue among women. The word ‘endometriosis’ comes from the term ‘endometrium,’ which refers to the tissue that lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis occurs when tissue that is comparable to the uterine lining grows outside of your uterus and on other parts of your body where it isn’t supposed to be.
It is most commonly present on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, tissues that support the uterus in place, and the uterus’ outer surface. The vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, and rectum are all possible sites for growth. Endometriosis can also affect other regions of the body, including the lungs, brain, and skin.
Who gets endometriosis?
Endometriosis can affect any girl or woman who has periods, although it is more frequent in women in their 30s and 40s. If you’ve never had children, or have monthly periods that last more than seven days or have short menstrual cycles (27 days or fewer), you’re more likely to develop endometriosis. A family member with endometriosis (mother, aunt, sister) or any medical condition that prevents the usual flow of menstrual blood out of your body during your period can increase the risks of developing the disease.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Pain, bleeding or spotting, infertility, stomach (digestive) difficulties, are the most common symptoms of endometriosis.
a) Menstrual cramps, which can be excruciatingly unpleasant. The discomfort may also worsen over time.
b) Lower back and pelvic pain that remains for a long time (chronic).
c) Pain that occurs during or after sex. This is a “deep” ache that differs from the agony felt at the entrance to the vaginal canal when penetration begins.
d) Intestinal discomfort and pain.
e) During menstrual cycles, you may experience painful bowel movements or urination. Blood may also be found in your stool or urine in rare situations.
2. Between-menstrual period bleeding or spotting. Something other than endometriosis could be causing this. You should consult your doctor if this happens frequently.
3. Infertility or the inability to conceive a child.
4. Some digestive (stomach) issues. Diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and nausea are common symptoms, especially during menstrual cycles.
Causes of Endometriosis
Nobody knows exactly what causes this illness but researchers are looking into the following causes:
1. The most common cause of endometriosis is retrograde menstrual flow. Some of the tissue lost during the period flows into other parts of the body, such as the pelvic, via the fallopian tube.
2. Endometriosis may be inherited in the genes if it runs in families.
3. Endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus may be missed by an immune system that isn’t working properly.
4. Endometriosis appears to be aided by the hormone estrogen.
5. Endometrial tissue may be taken up and relocated by accident during abdominal surgery such as a Cesarean (C-section) or hysterectomy.
It has no cure, but there are treatments for the symptoms and the problems it causes. Consult your doctor if you’re experiencing symptoms of endometriosis.
How serious is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis cysts are harmless (not cancerous). They can, however, lead to other problems. Endometriosis growths can swell and bleed just like the lining within your uterus does during your menstrual period. Because the tissue grows and bleeds in a location where it can’t easily exit your body, this can cause swelling and pain.
When such growths develop into your ovaries, they might block your fallopian tubes and cause complications. Cysts can occur when blood is trapped in the ovaries. Scar tissue and adhesions (a type of tissue that can bind organs together) can also form as a result of endometriosis. This scar tissue could cause pelvic pain and make it difficult for you to conceive. Inflammation (swelling) and other problems in your intestines and bladder are also possible effects.
After menopause, some women’s painful endometriosis symptoms improve. The growths gradually decrease as the body stops producing estrogen. Some women on menopausal hormone therapy, however, may still experience endometriosis symptoms.
Other health problems triggered by Endometriosis
Endometriosis has been linked to numerous health issues in women and their families. According to research, here are a few examples: Allergies, asthma, and chemical sensitivity along with autoimmune disorders (these are conditions in which the body’s immune system, instead of fighting illness, attacks itself). Multiple sclerosis, lupus, and some types of hypothyroidism, as well as chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, can all be caused by a result of endometriosis. Certain diseases, such as ovarian and breast cancer, can also be caused by it.
Endometriosis and Pregnancy
Endometriosis is thought to afflict one in every two infertile women, according to researchers. Many women with endometriosis, on the other hand, become pregnant. However, you may find it more difficult to conceive.
Endometriosis patches can block off or affect the structure of the pelvic and reproductive organs, for example. This may make it more difficult for the sperm to locate the egg. Due to autoimmune disorders, the immune system, which normally helps to defend the body against disease, may harm the embryo. The endometrium (the uterine lining layer where implantation takes place) may also not develop properly.
How to prevent Endometriosis?
Endometriosis cannot be avoided. However, by lowering your body’s estrogen levels, you can lessen your chances of developing it. During your menstrual cycle, estrogen helps to thicken the lining of your uterus.
Discuss hormonal birth control techniques with your doctor, such as tablets, patches, or rings with lower estrogen doses, to maintain lower estrogen levels in your body. You can reduce the amount of estrogen circulating in your body by exercising regularly and maintaining a low body fat percentage. Finally, limit your intake of alcohol and caffeine-containing beverages.
Consult your doctor immediately if you have endometriosis and are having problems. He or she can suggest therapies such as medicines or endometrial growth removal surgery.