According to an estimate, approximately 2%–10% of American women between the ages of 25 and 45 suffer from endometriosis, a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus.
Endometrial tissues line the uterus. With each menstrual cycle, a woman’s body grows a new endometrium to prepare for a fertilized egg, which is then shed during the menstrual period. With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissues grow on the other organs or structures of the body and cause uncomfortable symptoms that can impact daily life.
In this article, we will talk about the causes of endometriosis, its symptoms, and treatment options that are available to treat endometriosis.
CAUSES OF ENDOMETRIOSIS
Unfortunately, the exact underlying cause of endometriosis is unknown; however, a few theories say that endometriosis might be caused by:
This is a condition in which the menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tube into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body. The endometrial cells attach to the pelvic walls, as well as the surfaces of the pelvic organs, and begin to grow. These endometrial cells may also bleed during each menstrual cycle.
Transformation of Peritoneal Cells
According to the induction theory, hormones or immune factors promote the transformation of cells that line the inner side of the abdomen (peritoneal cells) into endometrial-like cells.
Embryonic Cell Transformation
Embryonic cells are in the earliest stages of development. In some cases, these embryonic cells are transformed into endometrial-like cell implants during puberty due to the effects of hormones like estrogen.
Surgical Scar Implantation
In some cases, following surgery, such as a C-section, the endometrial cells attach to the surgical incisions, causing endometriosis.
Endometrial Cell Transport
According to this theory, an individual’s lymphatic system or blood vessels may transport the endometrial cells to other parts of the body.
Immune System Disorder
Immune system dysfunction or disorder may also cause a patient’s body to become unable to recognize and destroy endometrial-like tissue that grows outside of the uterus.
SYMPTOMS OF ENDOMETRIOSIS
Pelvic pain associated with the menstrual period is the primary symptom of endometriosis. Typically, the symptoms of the menstrual cycle, especially menstrual pain, are worse in women with endometriosis than those without endometriosis.
Some common signs and symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Painful periods or dysmenorrhea
- Pain with intercourse
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Excessive bleeding
- Nausea or bloating
The severity of menstrual pain often indicates the extent of endometriosis. However, you can have mild endometriosis with severe pain and no pain with advanced endometriosis.
TREATMENTS FOR ENDOMETRIOSIS
In many cases, the treatment plan for endometriosis is solely focused on managing pain and improving fertility issues, if the patient is planning future pregnancy. The treatment plan is devised based on the severity of endometriosis, the patient’s age, the severity of symptoms, and their plans for future pregnancies.
Typically, endometriosis is managed through medications and surgery (which is recommended when conservative treatments such as medications fail to manage endometriosis).
To manage the symptoms of endometriosis, such as painful menstrual cramps, your doctor may recommend over-the-counter pain relievers, such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.
Women who are not trying to get pregnant can also take hormone therapy in combination with pain medications. Supplemental hormones can be used to reduce or eliminate pain associated with endometriosis, as well as to slow endometrial tissue growth and prevent new implants of endometrial tissues.
It is pertinent to mention here that hormonal therapies do not provide permanent relief from endometriosis symptoms, and your symptoms may return after stopping the treatment.
Hormone therapies that are used to treat endometriosis include hormonal contraceptives (in the form of patches, birth control pills, and vaginal rings) and progestin therapy (in the form of intrauterine devices, contraceptive injections, or progestin pills). Certain drugs, such as gonadotrophin-releasing hormone agonists and antagonists, and aromatase inhibitors can also be used to manage endometriosis.
The surgical options for endometriosis treatment include the following:
This is a surgical procedure in which a surgeon inserts a thin tube-like tool called a laparoscope into the body. The tool helps the surgeon see the inside of the body and identify endometriosis with a high-definition camera. Then, the surgeon sends surgical instruments into the abdomen to cut and remove lesions.
This surgical procedure is performed for severe cases of endometriosis. The surgeon removes the uterus, with or without ovaries. This process stops the release of hormones and treats endometriosis. However, this will also put the patient into menopause.
People with endometriosis who plan to get pregnant may be able to use in vitro fertilization (IVF) to achieve pregnancy.
ENDOMETRIOSIS TREATMENT IN WOOSTER, OH
If you are having menstrual pain more than usual, along with other symptoms of endometriosis, and are looking for a comprehensive evaluation, visit us here at Worcester Community Hospital. Our highly trained and skilled providers offer a comprehensive range of medical care for all the sexual and reproductive health needs of women. Our highly trained and compassionate gynecologists and gynecological assistants have built an excellent reputation for diagnosing and treating many conditions affecting women’s health, including endometriosis.