Endometriosis is the manageable gynaecological condition that occurs when endometrial implants, comprised of tissue normally found within the uterus, are present in other areas of the body. As the tissue continues to thicken, break down, respond to menstrual cycle hormones, and bleed during the menstrual cycle, endometriosis forms deep inside the body. Endometriosis is thought to affect around 15% of women.
What is endometriosis ?
Endometrial tissue consists of gland, blood cells, and connective tissue. It normally grows in the uterus, to prepare the lining of the womb for implantation of embryo. When they grow outside the uterus, this is called endometriosis.
They can develop anywhere in the body, but they usually occur in the pelvic area. They may affect:
Normally, this tissue is expelled during menstruation, but endometriotic tissue cannot do this. This leads to physical symptoms, such as pain. As the lesions grow larger, they can affect bodily functions. For example, the fallopian tubes may be blocked.
The pain and other symptoms can affect different areas of life, including the ability to work, medical care costs, and difficulty maintaining relationships.
Other medical conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cysts, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) can mimic the symptoms of endometriosis.
Symptoms of endometriosis include:
Pain is the most common indication of endometriosis, but the severity of the pain does not always correlate with the extent of the disease. Pregnancy may provide temporary relief from symptoms.
It is important to talk to us about symptoms, to avoid future complications.
The exact cause of endometriosis is not currently fully understood. Possible explanations include:
Surgery is possible, and normally considered if the other treatments are not effective like:
Although there is no cure for endometriosis, most women are able to relieve the pain of symptoms and will still be able to have children.