Endometriosis is a condition that almost 7,000,000 women in the United States between the ages of 20 to 40 suffer from. It is an abnormal growth of endometrial cells and seeing to be prevalent in industrialized nations. When this condition exists the endometrial cells grow in various places in the body where they do not belong such as in the fallopian tubes, on the outer surface of uterus, on the ovaries, other organs in the pelvic area, on the colon or on the bladder. The endometrial cells in large with blood when the woman’s menstrual period begins. The only place where the word can go is in to the tissues of the other organs where they are found. There are four stages of this disorder and they range from mild to severe.
The abnormal growth of the endometrial cells causes a lot of pain and cramping and various other symptoms. Severe case of endometriosis can render the woman unable to function in her day-to-day life. There is no definite known cause for this female disorder. There are all kinds of various theories however on what causes endometriosis. For instance, it may be caused by tubal regurgitation of menstrual blood which somehow causes the implantation of the endometrial cells in other parts of the pelvic cavity. Changes in the immune system and an inherited disposition may also be the reason why some women are susceptible to developing endometriosis. Endometriosis can also regress during a woman’s pregnancy and may never come back. The regression is likely due to the fact of the cessation of menstruation during pregnancy.
Dysmenorrhea is the most common symptom of endometriosis. Bleeding from the rectum or the bladder is another symptom of endometriosis. Symptoms such as these as well as the pain are greatly distressing to the woman. Back and leg pains may also be present when the woman suffers from endometriosis. This is caused by adhesions that can develop on the sciatic nerve with this disorder. Women who have endometriosis are also more susceptible to developing ovarian cysts as well. These are called chocolate cysts. If ovarian cyst ruptures it can cause inflammation and infection of the peritoneum. There is usually a high fever that is associated with this infection. There is a very real possibility that these types of ovarian cysts cause by endometriosis can be confused with ovarian cancer.
Endometriosis can be definitely diagnosed by the means of the diagnostic laparoscopy and histology which can be done to differentiate between endometriosis and ovarian cancer. When nodular and utero-sacral ligaments are found it is suggestive of endometriosis. A laparoscopy can reveal the existence of blue-black spots or areas that look as if they are powder burned which is the typical way to identify endometriosis. The laparoscopic can also reveal the presence of the chocolate cysts.
Treatments for endometriosis pain include the use of ibuprofen, paracetamol or codeine. Many times the doctor will prescribe oral contraceptives or progestogens for up to six months to suppress ovarian function. Danazol or Gonadotrophin can also be used for about three months. There is also a treatment that uses a laser ablation laser treatment of endometriotic lesions. The chocolate cysts can also be surgically removed by doing a laparoscopic cystectomy. Laser ablation is the preferred method of treatment for younger women who want to be able to conceive later on. Hysterectomy and the removal of the ovaries is sometimes the preferred treatment for older women. Surgical removal of the lesions can prevent complications with the bowel and bladder for these women.
However, there is no complete guarantee of a cure for endometriosis. Pregnancy on the other hand, can be a permanent cure for endometriosis for younger women. This disease is still undergoing scientific research to determine the exact cause and the most effective treatment for endometriosis.