If you have been told you need a hysterectomy, you are not alone. Many women undergo this surgery before they reach the age of 60. In the United States, it is the most normal non-pregnancy-related surgery. If you have not reached menopause, then a hysterectomy will end your monthly period. You will also not be…
Endometriosis Causes and Treatments
Endometriosis is a disorder of the uterus. It happens when the lining that is supposed to grow in the inner surface of the uterus grows on the outer surface instead. The lining is known as the endometrium and it is meant to grow and shed with each menstrual cycle.
How endometriosis occurs and why it is painful
When the endometrium grows inside the uterus like it is supposed to, it sloughs off and leaves the body during a woman's monthly period.
When it grows outside of the uterus, the endometrium thickens and breaks down with each menstrual cycle, just like it is supposed to. However, it lacks a way out of the body because it cannot access the vagina. The trapped tissue irritates the fallopian tubes, the ovaries and the soft tissue that lines the pelvis.
In severe cases, the irritation can cause these organs to develop scar tissue that grows into fibrous bands that can cause the organs to stick together. That is why some people with endometriosis can suffer mild or very severe pain. Some of them may even experience fertility problems.
There is no common cause that has been found to trigger every case of endometriosis, but doctors have some theories.
The disorder has been attributed to problems with the immune system. It is also thought to happen when estrogen transforms newly formed cells (embryo cells) into endometrial cells. Endometrial cells may also form because of a surgical scar, like the one that forms after a C-section or uterine surgery.
The most common symptom of this condition is menstrual cramps that are much more painful than the normal cramps experienced by many women. That said, some people that have the condition only experience moderate pain. Other signs of the illness are:
- Excessive bleeding: A person will sometimes have extremely heavy periods. Some women may even experience bleeding between periods
- Pain during urination or bowel movements: The pain usually happens during a person's monthly periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Infertility: Sometimes, endometriosis causes infertility
- A person may also experience fatigue and gastrointestinal problems during their period
Risk factors for endometriosis
Some people are at a higher risk of developing endometriosis. Examples are women:
- Who have never given birth
- Who started their periods early
- With delayed menopause
- With long menstrual cycles
- Who have a low BMI
- With higher than usual levels of estrogen in the body
- With a family history of endometriosis
- Who have abnormalities in the uterus or other medical conditions
Depending on the cause of the endometriosis, a doctor will come up with a tailor-made treatment plan to deal with the pain and the tissue buildup. Conservative treatments involve medication and hormone therapy. Sometimes, surgical treatment may be necessary.
Take the first step by getting a checkup
You are not supposed to suffer through unbearably painful periods. If you find yourself missing out on large parts of your life because of your menstrual cycle, you should get checked out to confirm or rule out endometriosis.
Come by our practice today to start the journey to a more comfortable cycle. We will make a treatment plan that is suited to your needs.
Let's get started…
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