Endometriosis is a condition where endometrial lining (the lining of the uterus) is found in and on locations outside the uterus. Endometriosis is most likely caused by a back flow of blood with traces of this lining gaining access to the abdominal cavity.
This misplaced tissue can cause inflammation, severe pain, and cysts. This tissue may also be found on the ovaries, bowel, uterus, bladder utero-sacral ligaments (ligaments that hold the uterus in place), or peritoneum (covering lining of the pelvis and abdominal cavity). Due to the migration of the tissue, many physicians have theorized that endometriosis may occur due to an immune deficiency of some kind. Endometriosis is the most common cause of pelvic pain.
Millions of women suffer from the painful and often debilitating effects of endometriosis. Women who have this condition often experience excessive cramping during menstruation, bloating, irritability, and severe abdominal pain.
Most often, endometrial tissue is the lining in the uterus that is shed each month during menstruation. This tissue can sometimes detach from the uterus and instead of being flushed out naturally by your body, it can flow back up into the fallopian tubes or other parts of the body. This tissue continues to respond to hormonal fluctuations in the body. Even though it is outside of the uterus, it continues to bleed and the excess blood that collects and festers causing sever pain.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Symptoms of Endometriosis include:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Excessive or irregular menstrual flows
- Bleeding or “spotting” between periods
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Intestinal discomfort
- Painful bowel movements
- Swelling in lower abdomen
The most common of these symptoms is severe abdominal pain (dysmenorrhea). This usually occurs a few years after menstruation begins but can sometimes be delayed depending on the severity of the endometriosis. Roughly 40% of all women who have endometriosis reported that their most severe symptoms started before the age of twenty.
Often, these symptoms can resemble the signs of IBS (Irritable Bowl Syndrome) a condition that affects the lower gastrointestinal functions. These symptoms may also be a sign of a more serious illness. If the symptoms are extremely severe, we advise you to consult your physician for a full consultation immediately.
What causes endometriosis?
There is much speculation as to the cause or causes of endometriosis. Some believe that it is hereditary. Fourteen percent of women that have endometriosis were reported to have a first or second generation link to the disorder. Immune deficiencies have also been reported to be an accepted cause of endometriosis. Autoimmune disorders have often been found to have a genetic link from parent to child as well.
Retrograde menstruation has been believed to be the leading cause of endometriosis. This is the backflow of blood and uterus tissue during menstruation. Until now there was no cure for endometriosis or its attributes. Doctors would provide hormonal supplements which caused undesirable side effects such as weight gain, or advise their patients to either become pregnant or have a hysterectomy to lessen the severity of the symptoms!