Endometriosis (en-doe-me-tree-O-sis) is a medical condition that affects up to 8% of women worldwide. And no, the male version is not called endometriobro. Typically, the lining of the uterus (called endometrium) grows within the uterus and gets broken down and passed out through the vagina during the menstrual cycle. However, for women who have endometriosis, this same lining grows in areas outside the uterus that goes through the same shedding process, ouch.
Yes, if you think this sounds painful, IT IS. When the lining sheds, it has nowhere to be discharged to. As a result, this leads to women experiencing extreme adverse effects such as heavy periods, severe cramps, cysts or even infertility.
For a more comprehensive explanation, take a look at this video.
Just a heads up, the voiceover is pretty monotonous and mundane, but the visuals do provide a better idea of this medical condition!
Causes of Endometriosis
The main cause of endometriosis is still unknown. There hasn’t been a proper explanation for this medical condition and neither can it be determined.
However, researchers and doctors have a few theories:
- Hereditary factor – women who have family members diagnosed with endometriosis are 7-10 times more likely to also suffer from endometriosis. So if your family has a history of endometriosis, be sure to go for a health check!
- A lapse in immune system – which means that your body is unable to properly detect and destroy endometrial tissue and cells outside of the uterus. This also can cause the bloodstream to carry endometrial cells throughout the body.
- Endometrial cells (the cells that create the lining) are carried to abnormal areas that are outside the uterus. As a result, these cells get rooted and grow a new lining.
Signs & Symptoms of Endometriosis
As mentioned earlier, this medical condition is found among women. Most women are diagnosed with endometriosis between the ages of 25 to 35 years. However, girls as young as 11 years old have also been diagnosed.
While some women do not experience any symptoms, some of the common signs and symptoms are:
- Extreme pain that affects day-to-day activities
- Pain during sexual intercourse, urination or during bowel movement
- Excessive and heavy bleeding during periods
- Painful periods – prior, during and after menstruation, that is persistent despite any menstrual cramp relief medications
- Chronic pain in lower back or pelvis
- Menstrual cycles that last shorter than 28 days
As if dealing with PMS and monthly menstruation isn’t tough enough! If you experience some of these symptoms but you are unsure, please visit your gynaecologist to get it checked out!
Effects of Endometriosis
Apart from the extreme pains that women will experience, the main complication of endometriosis is infertility or difficulty getting pregnant.
If you refer to the earlier video (@1:45), adhesions that are created between your ovaries and fallopian tube can make it difficult for the female’s egg to travel down to the uterus. This makes it difficult for the male’s sperm to fertilise the egg, as a result, affecting your fertility!
This DOES NOT mean that you won’t be able to get pregnant! It will just take a little more effort.
Because the cause of endometriosis is still unknown, this also means that the root cause of this condition cannot be determined. Hence, doctors have not found a treatment method that can permanently cure, but there are a few treatment methods that will help with controlling and easing the pain of it.
- Medications: Women may be prescribed medication and/or pills to ease the pain and slow down the growth of the endometrial cells
- Heat Therapy: If you do not like the idea of constantly consuming medication, heat therapy is another method to help cope with your endometriosis. Application of heat to the abdominal area will not only soothe extreme period cramps but also relaxes the surrounding pelvic muscles. (If you are someone who experiences this, MenstruHeat is the perfect solution. Get yours here!)
- Surgical: The two common surgical procedures are laparoscopy and laparotomy. These procedures will involve going into the abdominal region and removing the endometrial tissue. However, this does not fully prevent the recurrence of endometriosis as the endometrium could still regrow.
Another surgical procedure will be hysterectomy, which is the total removal of the uterus. Although this method will prevent endometriosis from recurring, this will mean that pregnancy will not be possible.
I know, complicated right? But in summary, these ARE surgical options but they do not guarantee the cure for endometriosis and they do come with their own complications.
If you’re still reading, congratulations on getting through this heavy-topic article! If you’re reading this and do not experience endometriosis, good on you! We hope that you have learned something new today. Perhaps this knowledge might prove useful in the future.
On the other hand, if you personally experience endometriosis, we hope our article has done justice in educating people about this medical condition. Share and tell us how you cope with the pains! Who knows, you might help a fellow female who is also going through this.
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