Endometriosis is really a common, yet poorly understood disease. It could strike women of any socioeconomic class, age, or race. It’s estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of American women of childbearing age have endometriosis.
Although some women with endometriosis may have severe pelvic pain, others who have the condition haven’t any symptoms. Nothing about endometriosis is easy, and there are no absolute cures. The disease can affect a woman’s whole existence–her capability to work, her capability to reproduce, and her relationships with her mate, her child, and everyone around her.
What is Endometriosis?
The name endometriosis comes from the word “endometrium,” the tissue that lines the within of the uterus. In case a woman is not pregnant, this tissue accumulates and is shed every month. It is discharged as menstrual flow at the end of every cycle. In endometriosis, tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus, usually in the abdominal cavity. Endometrial tissue residing outside the uterus responds to the menstrual period in a way that is similar to just how endometrium usually responds in the uterus.
At the end of each cycle, when hormones cause the uterus to shed its endometrial lining, endometrial tissue growing beyond your uterus will break apart and bleed. However, unlike menstrual fluid from the uterus, which is discharged from the body during menstruation, blood from the misplaced uterus does not have any spot to go. Tissues surrounding the region of endometriosis could become inflamed or swollen. The inflammation may produce scar tissue around the section of endometriosis. These endometrial tissue sites may develop into what exactly are called “lesions,” “implants,” “nodules,” or “growths.”
Endometriosis is most often found in the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, and the ligaments supporting the uterus, in the inner area between the vagina and rectum, on the outer surface of the uterus, and on the lining of the pelvic cavity. Infrequently, endometrial growths are located on the intestines or in the rectum, on the bladder, vagina cervix, and vulva (external genitals), or in abdominal surgery scars, Very rarely, endometrial growths have already been found beyond your abdomen, in the thigh, arm, or lung.
Physicians may use stages to describe the severity of endometriosis. Endometrial implants that are small and not widespread are considered minimal or mild endometriosis. Moderate endometriosis implies that larger implants or even more extensive scar tissue is present. Severe endometriosis is used to describe large implants and extensive scar tissue.
What are the Symptoms?
Most commonly, the symptoms of endometriosis start years after menstrual periods begin. Over time, the symptoms tend to gradually increase because the endometriosis areas upsurge in size. After menopause, the abnormal implants shrink away and the symptoms subside. The most typical symptom is pain, specially excessive menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) which might be felt in the abdomen or lower back or pain during or after sexual activity (dyspareunia). Infertility occurs in about 30-40 percent of women with endometriosis.
Rarely, the irritation due to endometrial implants may progress into infection or abscesses causing pain in addition to the menstrual cycle.
Endometrial patches may also be tender to touch or pressure, the intestinal pain could also derive from endometrial patches on the walls of the colon or intestine. The number of pain is not always linked to the severity of the condition. Some women with severe endometriosis have no pain; while others with a few small growths have incapacitating pain.
Endometrial cancer is quite rarely associated with endometriosis, occurring in under 1 percent of women who’ve the disease. When it does occur, it is usually found in more complex patches of endometriosis in older women and the long-term outlook in these unusual cases is fairly good.
How is Endometriosis Related to Fertility Problems?
Severe endometriosis with extensive scarring and organ damage may affect fertility. It really is considered among the three major causes of female infertility.
However, unsuspected or mild endometriosis is really a common finding among infertile women. How this type of endometriosis affects fertility is still not clear.
As the pregnancy rates for patients with endometriosis remain less than those of the general population, most patients with endometriosis usually do not experience fertility problems. We do not have a clear knowledge of the cause-effect relationship of endometriosis and infertility
What is the reason for Endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is still unknown. One theory is that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes in to the abdomen, where it implants and grows. Another theory shows that endometriosis can be a genetic process or that certain families may have predisposing factors to endometriosis. In the latter view, endometriosis sometimes appears as the tissue development process gone awry.
In line with the theory of traditional chinese medicine, endometriosis is really a disease which is caused by the stagnation of blood. Blood stagnation may occur due to a number of abortions or lower abdominal or pelvic surgeries.
Additionally, engaging in sexual intercourse during menstruation may more than likely over time cause blood stagnation. Emotional trauma, severe stress, physical or emotional abuse can all result in the stagnation of blood.
Additionally, diet might be a precipitating factor. The constant, long term ingestion of cold foods can congeal blood and thus contribute to the stagnation thereof. Cold foods include raw vegetable, ices, ice cream, ice in drinks, frozen yogurt, etc. Remember, cold congeals. Think about what happens to a normal glass of water when devote the freezer. It turns to ice.
The blood is affected similarly. In other words, it congeals, doesn’t flow smoothly and can form endometrial adhesions, chocolate cysts, uterine fibroids. Regardless of the cause of endometriosis, its progression is influenced by various stimulating factors such as for example hormones or growth factors. In this regard, investigators are studying the role of the immune system in activating cells that could secrete factors which, in turn, stimulate endometriosis.
Besides these new hypotheses, investigators are continuing to check into previous theories that endometriosis is really a disease influenced by delaying childbearing. Because the hormones created by the placenta during pregnancy prevent ovulation, the progress of endometriosis is slowed or stopped during pregnancy and the total amount of lifetime cycles is reduced for a female who had multiple pregnancies.
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of endometriosis begins with a gynecologist evaluating the patient’s health background. A complete physical exam, including a pelvic examination, can be necessary. However, diagnosis of endometriosis is only complete when proven by a laparoscopy, a minor medical procedure in which a laparoscope (a tube with a light in it) is inserted into a small incision in the abdomen.
The laparoscope is moved around the abdomen, which has been distended with carbon dioxide gas to make the organs easier to see. The surgeon may then check the condition of the abdominal organs and see the endometrial implants. The laparoscopy will show the locations, extent, and size of the growths and will help the patient and her doctor make better-informed decisions about treatment. Endometriosis is really a long-standing disease that often develops slowly.
What is the Treatment?
As the treatment for endometriosis has varied over time, doctors now concur that if the symptoms are mild, no more treatment apart from medication for pain may be needed. Endometriosis is really a progressive disorder.
I believe that by not treating endometriosis it will get worse. Treatment should immediately after a positive diagnosis is made. The pain associated with endometriosis can be diminished by using acupuncture and herbal medicine. I have treated a lot of women with endometriosis and have successfully alleviated pain and slowed down growth and recurrence of endometriosis.
For those patients with mild or minimal endometriosis who wish to become pregnant, doctors are advising that, depending on age of the patient and the quantity of pain associated with the disease, the best plan of action is to have a trial amount of unprotected intercourse for six months to 1 12 months. If pregnancy will not occur within that time, then further treatment may be needed. Again, What causes endometriosis? should think about herbal medicine to aid along the way of conception.