Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus, called endometrium, is found outside the uterus.
The location of this condition can vary– outer surface of uterus, ovaries, covering of the tubes, surface of rectum, deep in the pelvis, abdomen, previous surgical scars, umbilicus or even in the covering of the lungs in rare cases.
Reasons for the formation of an Endometriosis:
How this lining happens in these places has many theories. Pelvic endometriosis could possibly arise if menstrual blood flows back in a retrograde fashion, through the tubes, into the abdominal cavity and then ‘seed’ wherever they fall. One of the common sites is the deep pelvic folds which get stuck and ovaries where they form ‘chocolate cysts’.
How is Endometriosis diagnosed?
One can suspect endometriosis from classic symptoms but the only sure way to diagnose is to actually see characteristic appearances in the abdomen on endoscopic surgery, Laparoscopy.
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
Most commonly the symptom of endometriosis is pain – during and after periods, intercourse, passage of stools, low pelvic or abdominal pain. The other two common symptoms are heavy menstrual bleeding and infertility. The symptoms of endometriosis may not match the severity of the disease as mild disease may sometimes have severe associated pain.
What is the recommended treatment plan for Endometriosis?
When pain is the issue, medical treatments, mainly hormones can help. These quieten the symptoms temporarily but do not cure. Newer drugs in the market promise reduction in size of masses or cysts of endometriosis. Hormones do not help in reduction of the endometriosis chocolate cysts or release the adhesions or scarring caused by endometriosis. The definitive treatment in such cases is surgery and removal of the ovaries, which supply the hormones that stimulate the growth and spread of endometriosis, uterus as well as all implants. The best way to do these surgeries is by endoscopic surgery: Laparoscopy is also the Gold Standard treatment for infertile patients with endometriosis wherein conservative surgery is performed – removal of cysts, adhesions and separating vital structures.
Untreated endometriosis can cause unbearable pain, constriction and obstruction of intestines, uncontrolled growth and invasion, like cancers, through urinary bladder and gut causing bleeding and rarely, in long standing cases, even developing cancer itself.