Medically reviewed by Robyn Faye, M.D.
March is Endometriosis Consciousness Month.
Endometriosis is a painful situation that impacts greater than 11% of ladies 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 essential information.
Endometriosis is a pelvic ache situation that happens when tissue just like the tissue that strains the uterus, often called endometrial tissue, turns into implanted outdoors the uterus and creates growths often called endometrial implants. The commonest location of endometriosis is the ovaries, but it surely may also be discovered wherever 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 (often called rectovaginal endometriosis). A small proportion of endometriosis instances have an effect on the appendix.
What are the signs?
Signs could embody power ache; diminished fertility; irregular durations; painful menstrual cramps, often called 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 situations, so it could take some time to get a analysis. The truth is, it usually takes 7-12 years from the onset of signs to a analysis. Generally, signs ultimately result in a analysis, however round 20%-25% of ladies could also be asymptomatic and are solely recognized throughout a pelvic examination or ultrasound. Typically a analysis is made upon sight throughout a cesarean part, and a definitive analysis 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 danger components for endometriosis?
When you began your interval earlier than age 11, have a menstrual cycle that is shorter than 27 days or a heavy menstrual circulation that’s longer than per week, you might be at increased threat for endometriosis. Moreover, there’s some proof that exhibits girls are at higher threat of growing the situation if a detailed member of the family (mom, sister, aunt or cousin) has it. Moreover, analysis suggests that ladies with endometriosis usually tend to have a peak higher than 68 inches and to have a decrease BMI.
What are the therapy choices for endometriosis?
The primary line of therapy is painkillers, equivalent to acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS), and hormonal contraception or progestin alone. Subsequent comes long-term hormone remedy, which might scale back ache and sluggish 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 customary on the subject of surgical therapy for endometriosis.
Different surgical procedures embody slicing pelvic nerves to cut 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 attenuate or get rid of ache related to endometriosis.
What different well being situations are associated to endometriosis or can develop because of endometriosis?
Related situations 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 threat of getting sure cancers, together with:
- ovarian most cancers
- endometrial most cancers, a kind 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 kind 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. The truth is, typically endometriosis is recognized visually throughout a cesarean part. In different instances, the tissue discovered outdoors the uterus, often called 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 different remedies or way of life adjustments girls could make to assist relieve signs of endometriosis?
The Nationwide Institutes of Well being doesn’t record any different remedies for endometriosis, however a 2018 examine confirmed that acupuncture, yoga, train and electrotherapy could assist relieve endometriosis-related ache.
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