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.