What is endometriosis?

What is endometriosis – Its treatments and a guide to it. Endometriosis is a condition that affects women. It tends to cause pain ( intensity varies from patient to patient). It can cause pain in the lower part of the abdomen and can cause trouble falling pregnant.

Endometriosis occurs when tissue normally found in the women’s uterus , called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. Every time a lady has her normal cycle, the endometrial tissue lying outside the uterus will also start to bleed which then results in severe pain.

Some women with endometriosis show no symptoms, but most of the patients experience pain, usually in the lower abdominal area.

 

Pain can occur – before or during monthly periods

During or after intercourse

Between monthly periods

When urinating or having a bowel movement

Other symptoms of endometriosis can include

Ovarian cysts ( often referred to as chocolate cysts or Endometrioma) – this would be found on ultra-sound examination.

Difficulty in falling pregnant.

All of these symptoms can also be caused by conditions not related to endometriosis. But if you have any of these symptoms , you may need to be investigated for endometriosis. The only way to know for sure if you have endometriosis is for a doctor to do a laparoscopy and look for it.

TREATMENT OF ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis has many treatment options. The correct treatment for you will depend on your symptoms and whether you want to be able to get pregnant now or in the future.

First–line treatment are medications, such as:

Pain medication – such as Non steroidal anti-inflammatories

Contraceptive pill – this can reduce the number of periods and the amount of pain. It is however not suitable if you are trying to fall pregnant.

Mirena – intra-uterine device – this is a device that sits inside the uterus for up to 5 years ( it can be removed at any time). It has progesterone hormone within it that acts to suppress the growth of endometriosis. It is not suitable if you are trying to fall pregnant.

Some women choose to have surgery to treat endometriosis. The most common surgery is a laparoscopy – this allows the surgeon to see and remove endometriosis tissue. It is usual to follow surgical removal with some attempt at preventing it growing back – either the contraceptive pill, Mirena IUD, or pregnancy.

In more extreme cases, or in women who have definitely completed their family, a hysterectomy can help. Hysterectomy is surgery to remove a women’s uterus.

PREGNANCY CONSIDERATIONS

Endometriosis can affect your chances of becoming pregnant, although it should be noted that some women with known endometriosis have no trouble at all in becoming pregnant. Endometriosis can cause hormonal imbalances that change how your ovaries function, and can block your fallopian tubes. Surgical resection of mild to moderate endometriosis will probably improve your fertility chances. Women with endometriosis who have not become pregnant in 6 to 12 months (depending on their age) should seriously consider IVF.