Common Causes and Symptoms of Endometriosis | CK Birla Hospital
According to the Endometriosis Society of India, an estimated 25 million Indian women suffer from endometriosis. However, in spite of its rising prevalence around the world including India, there is insufficient awareness about this painful condition.
Even today, thousands of women are unaware about the warning signs of endometriosis, silently suffering from painful periods without getting the necessary treatment. If left unchecked, endometriosis can also result in infertility. In fact, many women are diagnosed with this condition when they seek medical advice for difficulties in conceiving.
In this article, Dr Astha Dayal (Department of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the CK Birla Hospital) explores endometriosis in further detail by answering a few common questions about endometriosis. For more information about this condition and to screen yourself, you can book an appointment with Dr Astha Dayal here.
What is endometriosis?
Your uterus is lined with a layer of tissue called the endometrium. During your menstrual cycle, this tissue builds up in preparation for pregnancy. If you don’t become pregnant, this layer is shed and is passed out during your period.
In the case of endometriosis, tissue similar to the endometrial tissue is formed outside the uterus. This generally occurs in other parts of your reproductive system or inside the abdominal cavity. Every month, this tissue also grows and sheds along with your menstrual cycle, causing swelling and scarring of the normal tissue in the affected regions.
What causes endometriosis?
While the exact causes of endometriosis are still unclear, some familiar causes of this condition are as follows:
- Reverse menstruation when the flow of menstrual blood goes backwards into the pelvis and fallopian tubes rather than exiting the body
- An embryonic cell development when there is embryonic cell development in the pelvic and abdominal regions
- Dysfunctionality in the immune system when the immune disorder is preventing the body from eliminating tissues from extrauterine sites
- Genetic predisposition when there is a certain genetic role involved in passing this condition
Does endometriosis cause infertility?
While women with endometriosis can sometimes be infertile, but researchers do not know exactly why this is the consequence. A recent study declared that endometriosis could make natural conception tougher but it does not equal infertility. Endometriosis causes adhesions and scar tissue, which result in the internal organs to get stuck to each other. This may cause blockage of tubes or ovaries. With timely medical intervention and treatment, women may even be able to conceive naturally without requiring any assisted reproductive techniques.
Also, read: What to do when you suspect infertility
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Some of the common symptoms of endometriosis include
Pain: Pain is the most significant and common symptom associated with endometriosis. Pain caused by endometriosis can be of different types such as
- extremely painful menstrual cramps which worsen as your period progresses
- Chronic or persistent pain in your lower back and/or pelvis
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements or urination during your periods
Bleeding or spotting: Light bleeding between your periods can indicate endometriosis
Infertility: Difficulties in becoming pregnant or infertility can be a result of endometriosis
Gastric problems: Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, nausea etc during your periods can indicate endometriosis in some cases.
What are the complications that can arise due to endometriosis?
Painful periods are not the only unpleasant outcome of endometriosis. The abnormal growth of tissue can cause complications such as:
- Blockage in the fallopian tubes resulting in ovarian cysts
- Scar tissue formation and adhesions that can cause difficulties in natural conception
- Bladder and gastrointestinal problems
How is endometriosis treated?
Endometriosis is generally treated by medication or surgery. Treatment protocols depends on the severity of the condition in that individual. In some cases, over the counter medications are enough to manage the symptoms. This is also combined with hormone therapy in case the patient is not aiming for a pregnancy.
In more severe manifestations of endometriosis, surgery might be required. If you are trying to become pregnant, the surgeon might perform a conservative surgery to remove the abnormal tissue. This surgery is usually done laparoscopically.
Can endometriosis be prevented?
Unfortunately, there are no steps you can take to completely eliminate the risk of developing endometriosis. Following a healthy diet and lifestyle can go a long way in managing symptoms. Getting regular gynaecological check-ups can also go a long way in monitoring the health of your reproductive system.
If you are experiencing extreme menstrual pain, you should consider getting screened for endometriosis. Book your visit to meet Dr Astha Dayal and other top gynaecologists in Gurgaon.
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