Endometriosis is a chronic condition amongst women. When it occurs, the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus or the endometrium. There are several endometriosis symptoms that can help in diagnosing if a woman is suffering from this condition. Confirmation of the diagnosis based on symptoms is vital in making a treatment plan.
All about endometriosis
The causes of this condition are not very clear, but there are several theories that try to explain why it occurs. For example, it is believed that pieces of the uterine lining do not exit through the vagina during menstrual period, but are instead ploughed back in the fallopian tubes and the ovaries. These misplaced cells might also be located in other areas of a woman's body such as the uterus ligaments, bladder, vagina and even the abdomen. As the condition worsens, the size of these misplaced tissues grows.
Common signs of an endometriosis include:
A woman will have pain in the pelvic are and the lower abdomen.
- Menstruation irregularities
Cramps, intense pain, heavy bleeding during menstruation and spotting may occur.
- Painful sexual intercourse
Women who are affected by this condition experience pain just before and during sexual intercourse.
- Bloating, bleeding and abdominal pain
Endometrial tissues that attach to the large intestine or even the bladder can cause bloating, painful bowel movements and rectal bleeding.
Misplaced tissues and cells can also block the passage of the egg from the ovary to the uterus.
A doctor might suspect endometriosis during routine pelvic examination when the patient feels pain. Infertility is also a cause of concern. Confirmation of initial diagnosis is made when the abdominal cavity is examined using a laparoscope. A biopsy can also be initiated. Other medical interventions to confirm endometriosis include ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), blood tests and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Once diagnosis is confirmed based on endometriosis symptoms and tests, a treatment plan can be devised for the patient. Treatment will be affected by several factors such as pregnancy plans, age and the stage of endometriosis. Medications can be administered to reduce the size of the misplaced tissue, bleeding and pain as applicable. Surgery to remove the tissue can also be undertaken as well as laparoscopy and electrocautery. If drugs do not help in reducing or relieving pain, the ovaries and uterus may be removed if the patient has no plans on getting pregnant.