Medically reviewed by Robyn Faye, M.D.
March is Endometriosis Consciousness Month.
Endometriosis is a painful situation that impacts greater than 11% of girls ages 15-44. HealthyWomen reached out to Robyn Faye, M.D., an OB-GYN with the Abington Major Ladies’s Healthcare Group and member of HealthyWomen’s Ladies’s Well being Advisory Council, to get the fundamental info.
Endometriosis is a pelvic ache situation that happens when tissue just like the tissue that traces the uterus, referred to as endometrial tissue, turns into implanted outdoors the uterus and creates growths referred to as endometrial implants. The most typical location of endometriosis is the ovaries, but it surely may also be discovered anyplace within the physique, together with on the fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, on the bowels or bladder, and within the peritoneum, uterosacral ligaments and rectouterine pouch (referred to as rectovaginal endometriosis). A small share of endometriosis circumstances have an effect on the appendix.
What are the signs?
Signs could embody power ache; diminished fertility; irregular durations; painful menstrual cramps, referred to as dysmenorrhea, and painful intercourse.
You might also expertise fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, particularly throughout menstrual durations.
How is endometriosis recognized?
Endometriosis shares signs with many different circumstances, so it might take some time to get a prognosis. In truth, it usually takes 7-12 years from the onset of signs to a prognosis. Most often, signs ultimately result in a prognosis, however round 20%-25% of girls could also be asymptomatic and are solely recognized throughout a pelvic examination or ultrasound. Generally a prognosis is made upon sight throughout a cesarean part, and a definitive prognosis could be made with a laparoscopy, a process the place a surgeon makes use of a small scope to search for endometrial tissue outdoors the uterus or on the uterus and different pelvic organs.
What are the chance elements for endometriosis?
In the event you began your interval earlier than age 11, have a menstrual cycle that is shorter than 27 days or a heavy menstrual move that’s longer than every week, you might be at greater danger for endometriosis. Moreover, there’s some proof that exhibits girls are at higher danger of growing the situation if a detailed member of the family (mom, sister, aunt or cousin) has it. Moreover, analysis suggests that girls with endometriosis usually tend to have a peak higher than 68 inches and to have a decrease BMI.
What are the remedy choices for endometriosis?
The primary line of remedy is painkillers, corresponding to acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicine (NSAIDS), and hormonal contraception or progestin alone. Subsequent comes long-term hormone remedy, which might scale back ache and gradual the expansion of endometrial implants. Surgical procedure may also be carried out to take away endometrial implants, which might scale back ache, however the implants can develop again. Laparoscopic surgical procedure is taken into account the gold commonplace in relation to surgical remedy for endometriosis.
Different surgical procedures embody reducing pelvic nerves to scale back ache. If endometriosis worsens, an oophorectomy — a process that removes the ovaries — or a hysterectomy could also be carried out: Each procedures have additionally been proven to reduce or get rid of ache related to endometriosis.
What different well being circumstances are associated to endometriosis or can develop on account of endometriosis?
Related circumstances embody:
- interstitial cystitis, a power bladder situation
- TMJ, a situation that causes the jaw to lock
- inflammatory bowel illness
Endometriosis may additionally be related to an elevated danger of getting sure cancers, together with:
- ovarian most cancers
- endometrial most cancers, a sort of most cancers that begins within the uterus
- non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a most cancers that begins within the physique’s lymphatic system
- melanoma, a sort of pores and skin most cancers
How can endometriosis have an effect on a lady’s fertility?
Some girls with endometriosis can conceive and carry a child to time period. In truth, generally endometriosis is recognized visually throughout a cesarean part. In different circumstances, the tissue discovered outdoors the uterus, referred to as endometrial implants, causes irritation, which might trigger infertility or fertility issues. When implants connect to the fallopian tubes, they’ll result in a delayed egg launch and have an effect on the physique’s means to switch sperm to the launched egg. In girls with endometriosis-associated infertility, laparoscopic surgical procedure and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can result in improved being pregnant charges.
How can girls enhance their endometriosis signs?
Oral contraceptives can scale back the ache of endometriosis and stop the endometrial cells from shedding and inflicting irritation, limiting the expansion of endometrial implants.
What are some various remedies or way of life modifications girls could make to assist relieve signs of endometriosis?
The Nationwide Institutes of Well being doesn’t checklist any various remedies for endometriosis, however a 2018 examine confirmed that acupuncture, yoga, train and electrotherapy could assist relieve endometriosis-related ache.
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