Endometriosis is a pretty common issue among females who have fertility problems. It doesn’t always cause infertility, but is definitely the condition to be aware of.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition, when tissue that is supposed to line the inside of the uterus, grows outside out it. This condition is experienced by millions of females around the world. Endometriosis is not necessarily painful or dangerous but unfortunately this can be the case as well. Commonly, endometriosis includes ovaries,fallopian tube and may spread beyond pelvic organs as well. Pelvic organs include bladder, uterus, vagina, small bowel and rectum. Clumps of outside grown tissues are called implants.
As we already said, uterus is lined with tissue called endometrium. Each month, when body releases hormones, endometrium thickens and gets ready for eggs. If egg is fertilized, it attaches to endometrium and then embryo starts to grow and develop inside of the uterus. When female doesn’t get pregnant, thickened endometrium breaks down and comes out as blood – female menstrual period.
Outside displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it would normally do – thickens, breaks down and bleeds with the menstrual cycle. But now, implants are outside the uterus so the blood doesn’t have the way to exit the body. Instead, they may be painful and irritated. Sometimes they can form scar tissues and cysts(fluid filled sacs).
Main complication of endometriosis is considered to be infertility. It may block the tube so it doesn’t give sperm and egg the opportunity to unite. Up to 50% percent of females with endometriosis experience fertility issues. Doctors suggest that females who are planning pregnancy, should not delay it as endometriosis may become more severe with time. Infertility is only common with stage IV endometriosis and can be easily conquered on lower stages.
Based on location, depth and region of extent, there are 4 stages of endometriosis.
- Minimal – Mild scarring and minimal implants.
- Mild – Mild scarring and minimal implants.
- Moderate – Cysts, severe scarring.
- Severe – Cysts, severe scarring, infertility.
Symptoms of endometriosis
Doctors do not know the exact reason of endometriosis and sometimes symptoms are not visible at all. However, there is still a list of common symptoms that females with endometriosis experience :
- Fatigue, nausea and diarrhea – especially during menstrual periods.
- Severe menstrual cramps, abdominal and lower back pain.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Pain with bowel movement or urination.
Diagnoses and Treatment
Endometriosis is sometimes genetical. Doctor will ask about family history, symptoms, period history and past health conditions. Most likely, female will need a pelvic exam and ultrasound in order to examine the inside of the belly. The way to treat and diagnose at the same times is laparoscopy. This is a simple surgical procedure when doctor inserts a thin, lighted tube through a small cut in the belly. Scar tissues, implants and cysts are best seen with laparoscopy and in case they are spotted, doctor can remove them during the same surgery.
Other kinds of treatment include counter pain medicines, such as advil and aleve. Birth control pills and hormone therapy are used widely to treat endometriosis, however females planning the pregnancy can not take them.
If female is close to menopause, then it is better stick to treatment with medicines. Once period goes away, so will diminish the problems caused from endometriosis. However, females who are fighting infertility, are strongly advised to not delay the pregnancy and do not use hormone therapy and birth control pills in their treatment routine.