EFFECTS OF ENDOMETRIOSIS ON WOMEN'S HEALTH, SYMPTOMS & TREATMENT


Endometriosis is the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial cells) similar to those that form the inside of the uterus, but in a location outside of the uterus. Endometriosis is most commonly found on other organs of the pelvis.
The exact cause of endometriosis has not been identified.
Endometriosis is more common in women who are experiencing infertility than in fertile women, but the condition does not necessarily cause infertility.
Most women with endometriosis have no symptoms. However, when women do experience signs and symptoms of endometriosis they may include:
Pelvic pain that may worsen during menstruation
Painful intercourse
Painful bowel movements or urination
Infertility
Pelvic pain during menstruation or ovulation can be a symptom of endometriosis, but may also occur in normal women.
Endometriosis can be suspected based on the woman's pattern of symptoms, and sometimes during a physical examination, but the definite diagnosis is usually confirmed by surgery, most commonly by laparoscopy.
Treatment of endometriosis includes medication and surgery for both pain relief and treatment of infertility if pregnancy is desired.

What are the signs and symptoms endometriosis?

Most women who have endometriosis, in fact, do not have symptoms. Of those who do, the most common include:

Pain (usually pelvic) that usually occurs just before menstruation and lessens after menstruation
Painful sexual intercourse
Cramping during intercourse
Cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination
Infertility
Pain with pelvic examinations y
The intensity of the pain can vary from month to month, and can vary greatly among affected individuals. Some women experience progressive worsening of symptoms, while others can have resolution of pain without treatment.

Pelvic pain in women with endometriosis depends partly on where endometrial implants of endometriosis are located.

Deeper implants and implants in areas of high nerve density are more apt to produce pain.
The implants may also release substances into the bloodstream which are capable of eliciting pain.
Pain can result when endometriotic implants incite scarring of surrounding tissues. There appears to be no relationship between severity of pain and the amount of anatomical disease which is present.
Endometriosis can be one of the reasons for infertility for otherwise healthy couples. When laparoscopic examinations are performed during evaluations for infertility, implants are often found in individuals who are totally asymptomatic. The reasons diminished fertility in many patients with endometriosis are not understood. Endometriosis may incite scar tissue formation within the pelvis. If the ovaries and Fallopian tubes are involved, the mechanical processes involved in the transfer of fertilized eggs into the tubes may be altered. Alternatively, the endometriotic lesions may produce inflammatory substances which adversely affect ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.

Other symptoms that can be related to endometriosis include

lower abdominal pain,
diarrhea and/or constipation,
low back pain,
chronic fatigue
irregular or heavy menstruation,
painful urination, or
bloody urine (particularly during menstruation).

Does endometriosis cause infertility?

Endometriosis is more common in infertile women, as opposed to those who have conceived a pregnancy. However, many women with confirmed endometriosis are able to conceive without difficulty, particularly if the disease is mild or moderate. It is estimated that up to 70% of women with mild or moderate endometriosis will conceive within three years without any specific treatment.

The reasons for a decrease in fertility when endometriosis is present are not completely understood. It is likely that both anatomical and hormonal factors are contributory to diminished fertility. The presence of endometriosis may incite significant scar (adhesion) formation within the pelvis which can distort normal anatomical structures. Alternatively, endometriosis may affect fertility through the production of inflammatory substances that have a negative effect on ovulation, fertilization of the egg, and/or implantation of the embryo. Infertility associated with endometriosis is more common in women with anatomically severe forms of the disease.

What medications treat endometriosis?

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)

Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs (such as ibuprofen or naproxen sodium) are commonly prescribed to help relieve pelvic pain and menstrual cramping. These pain-relieving medications have no effect on the endometrial implants or the progression of endometriosis. However, they do decrease prostaglandin production, and prostaglandins are well-known to have a role in the causation of pain. As the diagnosis of endometriosis can only be definitively confirmed with a biopsy, many women with complaints suspected to arise from endometriosis are treated for pain first without a firm diagnosis being established. Under such circumstances, NSAIDs are commonly used as a first line empirical treatment. If they are effective in controlling the pain, no other procedures or medical treatments are needed. If they are ineffective, additional evaluation and treatment will be necessary.

Since endometriosis occurs during the reproductive years, many of the available medical treatments for endometriosis rely on interruption of the normal cyclical hormone production by the ovaries. These medications include GnRH analogs, oral contraceptive pills, and progestins.

Kindly consult your doctor if you noticed any signs and symptoms listed above. 

Photo credit : beautyhealthtip
@Clinicgists 

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