WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?
The lining of the womb (uterus) is known as endometrium. Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium is present outside of the uterus as well. Usually the ectopic endometrium is seen in lower abdomen only (ovaries, Fallopian tubes, pelvis) but endometriosis may rarely spread to parts other than pelvis and can appear anywhere in body.
In endometriosis, the endometrium present at abnormal sites also respond to each menstrual cycle. So the endometrium outside the uterus also thickens, breaks and bleeds with each cycle of menses.
Since the abnormal sites of endometrium in endometriosis have no way of exit to discharge out the blood, cysts are formed entrapping the discharge. The surrounding tissues are also irritated causing adhesions and the organs stick to each other.
Sometimes there are no symptoms in mild endometriosis but mostly women suffer from severe pain during periods, during sexual intercourse and infertility can also occur.
- NULLIPAROUS: never giving birth can trigger endometriosis.
- EARLY MENARCHE: early onset of menses during puberty.
- LATE MENOPAUSE: having menses till old age can trigger endometriosis.
- OESTROGEN: high levels of oestrogen can also cause endometriosis.
- BEING THIN: being underweight can also cause endometriosis.
- SMOKING: can predispose to development of endometriosis.
- ALCOHOL: consumption in large amount on regular basis can also trigger endometriosis.
- FAMILY HISTORY: of endometriosis can also be a factor.
- UTERINE ABNORMALITIES: which don’t trap the menstrual flow can also cause endometriosis due to inflammation.
- INFERTILITY: females with endometriosis have difficulty in conceiving. Endometriosis may obstruct the way of egg or sperm thus preventing fertilisation.
- OVARY CANCER: endometriosis may predispose to develop ovarian cancer at a higher rate than expectation.
SYMPTOMS & CAUSES
- PAINFUL PERIODS: mild cramping and pain is normal during periods but for a woman with endometriosis; pain is far worse and restrict her daily life works. The pain starts before the periods start and last for several days with pain in lower back.
- PAINFUL SEXUAL INTERCOURSE: due to adhesions sexual intercourse is painful and pay may occur for quite some time after intercourse.
- HEAVY PERIODS: heavy flow is seen during menses.
- SPOTTING BETWEEN MENSES: may also be seen in some cases.
- INFERTILITY: due to obstruction caused by endometriosis adhesions the egg and sperm fail to meet causing infertility.
- REGULAR MENSTRUAL SYMPTOMS: nausea, vomiting, weakness, fatigue and bloating is also seen during menses.
- BACK FLOW OF MENSTRUAL BLOOD: would cause sticking of endometrial cells to stick to the ovaries, Fallopian tubes or in pelvic cavity and they would grow there and bleed there.
- TRANSFORMATION OF PERITONEAL TISSUES: to endometrial tissues would cause endometriosis.
- OESTROGEN: can trigger transformation of tissues in the foetus to endometrial tissues at abnormal places. Prolonged administration of oestrogen in adult life can also trigger the transformation.
- SURGICAL SCAR: of hysterectomy or cesarean section may cause sticking of endometrial tissues to the scar causing endometriosis.
DIAGNOSIS & TREATMENT
- PELVIS EXAMINATION: uterus and surrounding structures are movable as the uterus hangs freely with support of ligaments but adhesions caused by endometriosis can cause restriction of mobility.
- TRANSVAGINAL ULTRASONOGRAPHY: would reveal adhesions and endometriomas (trapped secretions in a cyst).
- MRI: would give more detailed information.
- LAPAROSCOPY: is surgical procedure that allows visualisation of the abdomen thus would reveal the condition.
- PAIN MANAGEMENT: is first line of treatment which is given by administering NSAIDS, painkillers etc.
- HORMONE THERAPY: oral contraceptive pills would help in relieving pain but it would not treat the condition completely.
- SURGERY: is done to remove tissues of endometriosis at abnormal sites.
- HYSTERECTOMY: along with ovaries is done in rare cases.
- HOMEOPATHY: is an alternative system of medicine which can help in permanent treatment of endometriosis very well.
- HOT FOMENTATION: hot baths, hot water bag can help in relieving pain along with cramping.
- REGULAR EXERCISE: can help in improving the symptoms over time.
- HEALTHY DIET: would help in feeling healthy.
- HOMEOPATHY: homeopathic medicines would help in permanent treatment of endometriosis.
There are several homeopathic medicines available which can treat the conditions permanently. Medicines like pulsatilla, natrum mur, sulphur, calcarea carb, tuberculinum, causticum etc act very well in managing the cases of endometriosis. But the medicines should be given only after the symptom study and constitutional study.
DO’S & DON’TS
- Do regular physical exercise.
- Use hot water bag for pain.
- Hot baths would also help in those days to feel better.
- Take healthy diet
- Don’t smoke.
- Don’t take much alcohol.
- Don’t stress out.