Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that occurs when the endometrium, the tissue that lines the uterus, ends up elsewhere in the body. In most instances, the tissue is located in other areas of the pelvic cavity, but it may be found virtually anywhere. Since the tissue behaves like normal endometrium, it bleeds and sheds like what would occur during a menstrual cycle, causing significant pain and damage.
Endometriosis is difficult to identify because the symptoms may be similar to other gynecological conditions or mimic unrelated problems. The most common symptom is abdominal pain. Since endometriosis behaves like typical endometrial tissue, the pain and symptoms are often worse during your period. Even outside of your period, the tissue can irritate or affect the surrounding organs where it is attached. This can lead to scarring and cause organs to stick to each other or to the wall of the abdominopelvic cavity. It's common for women with endometriosis to have pain and symptoms related to their gastrointestinal and urinary systems, such as pain that occurs with deification or urination.
Endometriosis may be suspected based on symptoms and suspicious results during a pelvic exam. During an exam, your doctor might feel abnormalities or your uterus may not move as readily, which could be an indication of adhesions. There are no tests that can diagnose endometriosis. The only way the condition can be diagnosed is by exploratory surgery. Laparoscopy is used to get a good visual of the pelvic organs and any abnormalities. This involves general sedation and numbing of the targeted area. A small camera is inserted through the main incision. Additional incisions are made in other areas of the pelvis so other instruments can be placed. Your doctor will use the camera to visualize the organs in the pelvis. If you have endometriosis, the doctor will find tissue in places it isn't supposed to be, such as outside the uterus or on other areas of the reproductive system.
Conservative management of endometriosis involves managing the symptoms. Most commonly, oral contraceptives are used to lessen bleeding during your period or in between periods and reduce cramps. Some contraceptives are designed for long-term use, which can be a better option if you do not plan to become pregnant for several years, or at all. A hormonal IUD is often preferred because it can last useveral years, depending on the brand, and works well at reducing heavy bleeding and period pain. If conservative measures are not helping, your doctor might recommend minimally invasive surgery to target endometrial tissue outside the uterus and cauterize it. When the tissue is cauterized, it is destroyed, so it is no longer capable of thickening and bleeding.
Endometriosis is a common, but often underdiagnosed gynecological condition that can cause considerable, chronic pain. Getting the problem diagnosed early might minimize the severity of the condition.
Reach out to a gynecologist in your area to learn more.Share
28 February 2023
One day I was playing a game of basketball with a friend, and the friend I was playing ball with tripped and took a hard fall to the ground. He hit his head hard, but he insisted he was okay and just wanted to go home and take a nap. I knew in my heart that he was not thinking clearly, and I didn't feel right letting him go home. I talked him into letting me take him to the hospital, and after some tests, it was determined he had a bad concussion. The doctors told me that if I had let him go home and sleep, things could have taken a turn for the worse. I created this blog to remind everyone to look out for each other after injuries. Not everyone thinks clearly after a head injury, and just being a good friend could save a life.