Millions of women silently suffer! Endometriosis is a common condition that affects about 176 million women of reproductive age globally. Startling number isn’t it? Why is it most women don’t know what it is? or what endometriosis treatments are?
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a caused by the migration of tissue lining in the uterus outside the uterine cavity. Hormonal changes that occur with the menstrual cycle affect the tissue of the endometrium migrating, causing inflammation and pain.
The tissue becomes trapped in the pelvic area and causes irritation, scars, adhesions, severe pain during the menstrual cycle (period) and of course fertility problems.
This is usually the beginning of the disease, but it can go by unnoticed for years since most women and girls consider these symptoms that are mostly synchronous to the menstrual cycle a monthly discomfort that will disappear over time and are in oblivion about endometriosis treatments.
At first, the doctor should carefully examine and rule out other possible diseases, to question about the patient’s family history because as we mentioned earlier, genetic clusters play an important role in this disease.
Through what is known as a woman’s pelvic ultrasound examination the doctor looks at the pelvic organs through ultrasound sonography, the doctor can identify cysts and scars around the uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries, confirming the presence of the disease.
The ultrasound is the main and least invasive diagnostic tool for endometriosis, and it can be done either abdominally or vaginally although vaginal ultrasound will probably give better and more detailed imaging. Most of the times the doctor deems the images on the ultrasound enough to diagnose endometriosis with certainty and offer endometriosis treatment.
The most accurate method for endometriosis diagnosis your doctor can use is a laparoscopy, and once endometriosis is diagnosed the surgeon can be ready to operatively do endometriosis treatment surgery and remove the harmful tissues.
- Retrograde menstruation occurs when some menstrual blood containing endometrial lining cells flow through the fallopian tubes to the pelvic cavity instead of it all exiting through the vagina as normal. This results in endometrial lining cells sticking to the pelvic wall and pelvic organs, these cells are susceptible to monthly hormonal changes and form pockets (cysts) that bleed during menses.
- Genetic factors attribute to developing endometriosis.
- -Several studies claim endometriosis could be caused due to a transformation of peritoneal cells
- Some experts suggest that hormones or immune factors promote the transformation of red blood cells into cells that line the inner side of the abdomen into cells that are very close to endometrium lining cells causing endometriosis.
- Hormones mainly estrogen, could induce the transformation of peritoneal cells lining the inner side of the abdomen into cells resembling endometrium that lines the uterine cavity and form endometriotic spots.
- Transference of endometrium cells: Blood vessels transfer lymphatic tissue cells from the lining of the uterus to other parts of the body forming endometriotic spots (endometriosis)
- Immune system disorders could result in the body's inability to recognize and destroy endometriosis that grows outside the uterus.
There are symptoms that could serve as your body’s mirror and make you suspect you have endometriosis but sometimes you could have endometriosis and not feel anything.
- Feeling pain during ovulation.
- Feeling strong cramps during the menstrual cycle.
- Dyspareunia which means experiencing pain during or after intercourse.
- Intermenstrual bleeding which means bleeding or spotting outside of your regular menses (period) days.
- Dysuria; pain during urination when having your menses (period).
- Difficulty in performing bowel movement if there are endometriotic spots lodged in the back wall of the vagina.
- Feelings of being depressed, especially during the menstrual period due to hormone disbalance.
- A constant feeling of fatigue and stress.
- Noticing or feeling that your stomach is swollen or distended.
- Problems like constipation or diarrhea may present if endometriotic spots are located near or on intestines.
- Occasionally you could experience lower back pain.
- A delay in pregnancy or infertility may occur.
First line of treatment for endometriosis
In most cases, the patient just needs over the counter analgesics or a prescription medication for stronger painkillers from their doctor. However, if this does not help with the pain or the endometriosis spots become too big it should be removed surgically by laparoscope or through a laparotomy according to the severity of the case.
We mentioned earlier that hormonal changes influence endometriotic spots therefore we could use hormones to treat pain and sometimes the size of endometriotic spots. These are usually hormones that prevent ovulation and come in form of pills, sprays or injection and are contraceptives.
Operative solutions for endometriosis
We at Bedaya Hospital have an elite team of specialists and doctors with experience and competence to solve the problems and symptoms that come forth from endometriosis, we also have the right laparoscopic equipment and state of the art operating theaters to do this in the least invasive ways
Reaching the state of endometriosis where surgery is required can in many cases be prevented if women had awareness about the amount of pain that is normal during menstruation or if people are more open about endometriosis.
Raising public awareness
General awareness of the public to endometriosis should be raised to diagnose more girls and women in earlier stages of the disease to prevent it from progressing and causing pelvic adhesions and fertility problems.