Endometriosis: Causes, Symptoms & Diagnosis

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What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition when the tissue that forms the inner lining of the uterine wall grows outside the uterus. This tissue, called the endometrium, can grow in the ovaries, intestines, Fallopian tubes, vagina, or in the rectum (the end of the intestine that is connected to the anus).

Endometriosis is a medical condition that often attacks women around the world. Most women diagnosed with endometriosis are between 25 to 40 years old.

Endometriosis Causes

Not yet known exactly what causes endometriosis, but there are several theories. The most widely accepted theory is that the lining of the uterus is not completely removed during the menstrual period and then attaches itself to the pelvic organs.

Endometriosis cells have the same properties as the endometrium lining the uterus, so that every month it will grow during the menstrual cycle and then peel or bleed like the uterus during menstruation.

As we know that, before menstruation comes the hormone estrogen will cause the endometrium to thicken (thickening) to be ready to receive fertilized eggs. If the egg is not fertilized, the uterine lining will be damaged and leave the body (decay) as menstrual blood.

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Endometriosis or endometrium that grows in other tissues will also experience the same process of thickening and decaying, but it has no way to leave the body.

This causes pain, swelling and sometimes fertility problems if it occurs in the Fallopian tubes or ovaries so that it becomes damaged.

Endometriosis Symptoms

Endometriosis is a type of long-term (chronic) disease that can cause pain during menstruation or heavy bleeding. This disease also often causes lower abdominal pain in women, lower back, and fertility problems.

Most women with endometriosis do not show any symptoms, however, when it occurs endometriosis symptoms can be:

  • More severe pelvic pain during menstruation
  • Bleeding outside the menstrual cycle
  • Excessive blood volume during menstruation
  • Pain when defecating or urinating
  • Infertility
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Bloated

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

To make a diagnosis, the doctor will ask for any symptoms that appear as described above, then do a physical examination on the pelvis or maybe an internal examination.

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Laparoscopic procedure is one of the method to diagnose endometriosis. Laparoscopic procedure is carried out by inserting a small tube with a camera (laparoscopy) to see the inside of the patient’s abdomen. Through laparoscopy, doctors can take tissue samples (biopsy) to be examined in the laboratory.

Endometriosis Treatments

There is no specific drug that can treat endometriosis. There are common surgeries to remove endometriosis:

  • Laparoscopy – This procedure is performed to remove endometriosis tissue or burn it using a laser or electric current. This procedure is usually done for patients who still want to have children.
  • Hysterectomy – This procedure is the surgical removal of the uterus, cervix and both ovaries. After this procedure, the patient cannot get pregnant again and has a higher risk for suffering from heart and blood vessel disease.
  • Laparotomy – This procedure is performed to access the affected organ and remove endometriosis tissue.

In addition, to maintain lower estrogen levels in the body, you can do the following things: Use of birth control pills, regular exercise, avoiding alcohol, and caffeinated drinks. Since, Endometriosis can be a difficult condition to treat, both physically and emotionally.

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