What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a hormonal and immune disease in which endometrial cells grow outside the uterine cavity, commonly on the membrane that lines the abdomen. Endometriosis usually affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. During the course of the menstruation cycle, these displaced endometrial cells will grow, thicken and bleed, causing pain where they are situated. Thus, women who have endometriosis suffer from immense abdomen or pelvic pain and painful periods.

What does Endometriosis mean for my fertility?

Between 20% and 40% of women who are infertile have endometriosis, while one-third of those with endometriosis will have fertility issues. This condition impairs fertility by either causing distortion in the fallopian tubes or by creating inflammation that affects the functioning of the egg, ovary, fallopian tubes or uterus.

Those with endometriosis also have an increased risk of developing:

  • Intestinal and bladder complications
  • Ovarian cysts
  • Ovarian cancer or endometriosis-associated adenocarcinoma

What causes Endometriosis?

The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown; however, some explanations include:

  • Menstrual flow problems
  • Retrograde menstruation
  • Transformation of peritoneal cells
  • Foetal development
  • Embryonic cell growth or transformation
  • Surgical scar implantation
  • Genetics
  • Hormones
  • Immune system disorder

What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?

  • Intense pelvic or abdominal pain
  • Painful menstrual period that is worse than usual
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Infertility
  • Other symptoms during menstrual period include – nausea, bloating, fatigue, diarrhoea or constipation

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

Endometriosis is usually diagnosed with a laparoscopy in which a camera is used to view inside the abdomen. Endometriosis can be difficult to manage; however, early diagnosis may help you understand and treat your condition and its symptoms better.