|Gynaecologic Problems: Endometriosis|
Endometriosis occurs when
tissue is found outside the uterus, usually in the abdomen on the ,
ligaments that support the ;
the area between the
and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic
cavity. Other sites for these endometrial growths may include the bladder,
bowel, , ,
, and in abdominal
surgical scars. Less commonly they are found in the lung, arm, thigh,
and other locations.
This misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions which respond to
the menstrual cycle in the same way that the tissue of the uterine lining
does. This means that each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and
sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through
the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has
no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown
of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation, and can cause
pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.
The cause of endometriosis is unknown.
Symptoms and Signs
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Pain during intercourse.
- Painful urination during periods.
- Painful bowel movements during periods.
- Other Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhoea, constipation, nausea.
In addition, many women with endometriosis suffer from allergies (cf.
), chemical sensitivities and frequent yeast infections
Diagnosis and Treatment
Diagnosis is considered uncertain until proven by .
A laparoscopy usually shows the location, size, and extent of the growths.
This helps the doctor and patient make better treatment choices.
There is no cure for endometriosis, however, a variety of treatment options
do exist. The goals of treatment may include: relieving/reducing pain
symptoms, shrinking or slowing endometrial growths, preserving or restoring
fertility, and preventing/delaying recurrence of the disease. The main
treatment options include:
- Pain Medication. These include over-the-counter pain relievers, as
well prostaglandin inhibitors. In some cases, prescription drugs may
- Hormonal treatment aims to stop ovulation for as long as possible
and may include: oral contraceptives, progesterone drugs, a testosterone
derivative, and GnRH agonists. Side effects may be a problem for some
- Conservative surgery seeks to remove or destroy the growths, relieve
pain, and may allow pregnancy to occur in some cases. Conservative surgery
or laparotomy . Hormonal therapy may be prescribed
along with conservative surgery.
Radical surgery, which may be necessary in severe cases, involves hysterectomy,
removal of all growths, and removal of ovaries.
For further, more detailed information on this topic,
please refer to the reference source for this page.
The information in this page is presented in summarised form and has been taken
from the following source(s):
The Endometriosis Association Online:
(def;articles & more)