Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that is normally found in the lining of the uterus, known as the endometrium, exists or grows outside of the uterus.
If you have endometriosis it means that your endometrial tissue is growing outside the uterus and in other surrounding areas. Most commonly this abnormal tissue growth is found in the lower abdomen or pelvis which includes parts of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the area surrounding the uterus.
In layman terms endometrial growth can be referred to as implants, lesions or nodules. More specifically endometrial tissue growing within the uterine muscular wall is called adenomyosis. It is important to note that endometrial tissue growths are mostly non-malignant.
How does endometriosis affect you?
Your body reacts to the abnormal endometrial growth outside of the uterus in the same way as it would with normal endometrial tissue.
Endometrial tissue builds up within the uterus each month to prepare the uterus for pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur, it is broken up and expelled in the form of blood during a menstrual period. In women with endometriosis the extra tissue that grows outside the uterus has nowhere to go, in other words the body does not have any means to eliminate it. As a result it disintegrates within the body, causing internal bleeding, inflaming the surrounding areas and forming scar tissue which may make it difficult to get pregnant.
What causes endometriosis?
The causes of endometriosis are not fully known but what we know is that the endometriosis tissue is exactly like the tissue growth inside the uterus.
During a normal cycle your ovaries secrete the hormone estrogen before the onset of a period. This hormone causes the endometrium (the uterine lining) to thicken to enable the wall of the uterus uterine to receive a fertilized egg.
There seems to be some link between the hormone estrogen and endometriosis.
Studies indicate that maybe an excess of this hormone causes the endometrial growth outside of the uterus. Another indication is that endometriosis is not found in women who have undergone menopause as their bodies have stopped producing estrogen.
Symptoms and effects of endometriosis
The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- heavy bleeding during periods
- pain in the lower abdomen, pelvic area or lower back
- pain and discomfort during and after sexual activity
- light or heavy spotting between periods
- fatigue for no apparent reason
- pain and discomfort at the time of urinating or passing stools
It is important to understand that every woman’s body responds differently to this condition.
Endometriosis and getting pregnant
A mild version of the disease does not come in the way of getting pregnant. Most women with minimal-to-mild endometria’s is are able to conceive. Infertility is more common in women with severe forms of the disease.
The reasons for a decrease in fertility due to endometriosis may be due to scar tissue that may distort and disfigure the uterus and the area around the uterus such as the pelvis, fallopian tubes or ovaries all of which play an essential role in conception.
Also, the presence of too much estrogen in the body may have a negative effect on the conception process.
Effectively treating endometriosis
The major negative outcome of endometriosis is difficulty in getting pregnant or infertility. However medical science has made it possible to deal with and circumvent the problems of infertility linked to endometriosis.
Endometriosis can be successfully treated and even eliminated altogether. One way to get rid of the endometrial growths is through an invasive surgery whereby the visible growths are surgically removed. However a more advanced and reliable method of removing the endometrial growths is by way of a laparoscopic surgery that uses a laser or electric current to remove the lesions and consequently improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy.
In milder cases hormonal treatments are used to combat the disease and are seen to be effective.
In severe cases – which in medical terms is known as stage IV endometriosis – a hysterectomy may beused to remove the uterus altogether, but this is only in very rare cases and more prevalent when the patient has already had children and does not want anymore.
All in all endometriosis when dealt with correctly under the advice and guidance of the right doctors is only a hiccup on the road to a healthy pregnancy. In fact a successful pregnancy sometimes reduces the symptoms of endometriosis although there is no guarantee that the symptoms would not reappear after the pregnancy.
In her experience spanning close to two decades, Dr. Manika Khanna has helped hundreds of women with endometriosis achieve pregnancy through her expertise in the latest treatment modalities concerning the disorder.
For further guidance, consult Dr. Khanna for a Free Second Opinion.