Symptoms of Endometriosis & its Treatment
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that commonly occurs in women of reproductive age and is associated with severe pain and infertility. Endometriosis affects about 10 per cent of women in the reproductive years, reach the zenith between the ages of 25 and 35. Although fairly common, it can be a puzzling condition due to its common symptoms. The symptoms vary greatly in their nature and severity. It is a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus, causing pain, infertility etc.
What are the symptoms?
Endometriosis has many dreadful symptoms. But in some cases, there would be no specific symptoms at all. The primary symptom is pelvic pain which often associated with the menstrual period. Other common symptoms include more painful menstrual periods, pain during or after sex, pain with bowel movements or urination, excessive bleeding, fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation, nausea – especially during menstrual periods. Infertility may be another symptom. Around 20% to 40% women who are infertile have endometriosis. Rare symptoms of endometriosis may occur due to endometriosis in lungs or brain. Its symptoms include chest pain, coughing blood, headache etc.
The possible causes
The exact cause of this disorder is unknown. One of the main theory is that endometriosis occurs due to a process called retrograde menstruation. This happens when menstrual blood flows back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving the body through the vagina. Another reason can be the transformation of the peritoneal cells. Propose that hormones or immune factors promote a transformation of peritoneal cells into endometrial cells.
Another theory is that endometriosis occurs due to Embryonic cell transformation. Here hormones like estrogen may transform embryonic cells into endometrial cell implants during puberty. Some experts propose that this may occur due to surgical implantation, endometrial cell transport (the condition where the endometrial cells are transported to other body parts by the blood vessels.) or immune system disorder.
There’s no cure for endometriosis and it can be difficult to treat. But there are many treatments to ease the pain and to help to live a better life. Treatment can be given to relieve pain, slowing the growth of endometriosis tissue and to overcome infertility. The treatment method will be decided by considering the age, the symptoms and pain and the need to get pregnant. Generally, doctors suggest conservative treatment and surgery is their last option. Conservative treatment includes pain medication and hormone therapy. Surgical methods include Conservative surgery, assisted reproductive technologies and hysterectomy.
In the pain medication, your doctor may recommend that you take pain relievers, such as the nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin IB) or naproxen (Aleve, others), to ease painful menstrual cramps.
If these medications do not provide relief, you should try more advanced approaches. Hormone therapy is a good option. Supplemental hormones are sometimes effective in reducing or eliminating the pain of endometriosis. The change in hormone levels during the menstrual cycle causes endometrial implants to thicken, break down and bleed. Hormone medication may slow endometrial tissue growth and prevent new implants of endometrial tissue. This treatment includes the use of Hormonal contraceptives, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists, Progestin therapy and Danazol. Conservative surgery is used to become pregnant. Here, surgery is done to remove as much endometriosis as possible while preserving your uterus and ovaries. However, endometriosis and pain may return. Assisted reproductive technologies, such as in vitro fertilization, will help in pregnancy. This is sometimes better compared to conservative surgery. In severe cases, the best treatment will be the removal of the uterus and cervix (total hysterectomy) as well as both ovaries by surgery.