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Endometriosis

What is Endometriosis?

What leads to Endometriosis?

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Diagnosis of Endometriosis

Endometriosis and Infertility

Treatment of infertility in Endometriosis

Success Rates of Treatment

There is a very large section of women folk who suffer from a painful condition called endometriosis and do not know that they are having it. The basic knowledge about this health condition and its cure can help you lead a more contented and easier life.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometrium or Endometrial tissue is the layer you find inside your uterus or womb. Endometriosis is a condition where this tissue starts to grow outside your uterus, onto the other reproductive organs like the ovaries and the fallopian tubes blocking their functions. In some cases, it may even grow onto the intestines, rectum or bladder. Only a lucky few with such condition have little or no discomfort from such a condition. Most of the women having endometriosis suffer from excruciating pain especially before or during the menstrual cycle. The pain starts to subside only after one move into menopause.

endometriosis

What actually happens from endometriosis is that hormone changes cause the tissue to swell and then break down causing bleeding. Since this occurs outside the uterus, the blood gets trapped which in turn leads to other medical conditions like growth of cysts, lesions or scar tissues. It may also lead to thickening of the uterus.

What leads to Endometriosis?

It is still not clear what actually causes endometriosis in women. An average of 1-15% of such cases has been detected in women in their reproductive ages. Most doctors believe in the theory that endometrial tissue backs-up through the fallopian tubes during the menstrual cycle. In normal cases, such abnormal growth of tissue is automatically destroyed by the immune system. However, when the immune system fails to do this, the tissue then continues to grow into the abdomen and thus causes a complete mess of the reproductive system, even blocking its passage ways. There is also another theory that suggests that such tissue is a part of the woman’s own embryonic tissue formed while she was in her mother's womb. This theory suggests that during adulthood such tissue develops leading to endometriosis.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Following are the common symptoms pointing out to an endometriosis condition in you:

Pain during ovulation.


Chronic pain in the pelvic region.


Extremely painful periods.


Deep pain during sexual intercourse.


Exhaustion.


Pain or frequent urination tendency during periods.


Abnormal bleeding during menstruation like premenstrual spotting.


Diarrhea, constipation, painful bowel movements or any other kind of intestinal upset during periods.


Finding difficulty in conceiving.

It is not necessary that you might notice all or in fact any of the symptoms even though you are suffering from endometriosis. However for majority of the women, these symptoms are quite obvious and the severity of their condition depends of various factors like the length of period for which she has suffered this condition, how deeply the tissue has implanted itself, which all organs are affected by such adhesions and the like. It has been found that, as time progresses, the adhesions continue to build up leading to more pain and other problems.

Diagnosis of Endometriosis

Once you have a doubt of suffering from endometriosis, you should approach your doctor for a complete check-up. This would be most appropriate to be done during your menstrual cycle. Your doctor would choose to discuss your entire medical history and also conduct a complete physical investigation to check for any signs of cysts or change in the conditions of pelvic area. Before proceeding on any kind of treatment for endometriosis, most doctors prefer to perform a key hole surgery or laparoscopy for a definite diagnosis.

Laparoscopy can be performed at any time without waiting for the menstrual cycle to start. You will be given a general anesthesia and a surgeon will insert a small tube near your navel. Your abdomen is then filled up with carbon dioxide to help the doctor see your organs better. They can then properly confirm the location, number and size of any growths onto your internal organs. In some rare cases, the doctor may even remove a part of such adhesions for biopsy. It is only after all these procedures have been followed will the doctor that you should think of any treatment line for the said condition.

Endometriosis and Infertility

It is quite a stark reality that endometriosis directly affects the functioning of your reproductive system. The tissue goes on to grow over all your internal organs, affecting the proper working of the entire system. The biggest damage endometriosis causes is to your fallopian tubes which can become blocked and to your ovaries that can get damaged by such adhesions. Today endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility in most couples.

However, in spite of the gravity of this condition, there is still hope for you. You can still conceive and become a mother even if you are suffering from severe endometriosis. The solution for this depends upon how this disease has affected your reproductive organs. It is always best to seek help at the earliest if you suffering from endometriosis. This tissue growth keeps on worsening as time goes by and then your chances of conceiving could have a major setback.

Treatment of infertility in Endometriosis

There are many things you doctor will look out for before deciding on how to treat your endometriosis. There are basically only two options available for the same – fertility drugs therapy and surgery. Which one to choose depends upon the severity of the symptoms, which all organs have been affected by such adhesions, size of such growths within your body, your age, and your plans to becoming a mother? The doctor will keep all these points in mind before taking any final decision.

After having a discussion with your doctor, you can get them to refer you to a fertility specialist. They usually start your treatment with a laparoscopy and a dye to find out the extent of blocks or any damage caused to your fallopian tubes and ovaries. This may be accompanied by an ultrasound scan of the pelvic organs for better diagnosis. Your doctor might even help you get rid of the adhesions during such laparoscopy in the initial stages. Also for blocked fallopian tubes, tubal flushing can be used. Once the doctor decides that your case is not that serious, they might ask you to wait and try for six or more months before starting on any line of treatment.

Most couples do not like to try surgery in the initial stages. This is where the modern technological advances could help them. They try for assisted conception techniques like IVF or IUI. When the endometriosis has been detected as mild, doctors usually advice around six cycles of IUI. However, when the male partner also has some infertility problems or if IUI has failed to deliver, the couples could try out surgical methods. The next option after this would be going in for IVF which has a considerably high success percentage though not for women with endometriosis.

Doctors advise limited use of drug therapy for women with endometriosis. This is because drugs are seen to suppress ovulation and may also cause irreversible damage to the growing embryo. Only gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) is an exception since it inhibits the production of hormones involved in ovulation. (Read more about Best Reviewed Treating Endometriosis Book)

Success Rates of Treatment



Laparoscopic surgery for removal of adhesions has been seen to give the best success rates for women with endometriosis. Most women find it possible to become pregnant within the first year of surgery as these adhesions commonly do recur. After surgery, using proper conception techniques can help them to find success with conception. For those suffering from only mild endometriosis, the success rates could be as high as 85%. Even tubal flushing has shown to increase their chances of conception seven-folds.

(Read more about Cause of female infertility)

(Read more about Best reviewed fertility supplement)



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