Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb starts to grow in other places, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining of the pelvis. With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue thickens, breaks and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.
The main symptom of endometriosis is strong pelvic pain, which is often associated with menstrual cramps. Common symptoms of endometriosis include:
Endometriosis causes painful periods – pelvic pain and cramping can begin before and extend several days into the period
Heavy periods – you may experience occasional heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
Pain with sex – pain during or after sex is quite common with endometriosis
Pain with bowel movements and urination – this pain mainly appears during period
Other signs and symptoms – during your period, you may experience fatigue, diarrhoea, constipation, bloating or nausea
The exact endometriosis causes are unknown but there are several theories that have been suggested, such as:
– Retrograde menstruation – it occurs when menstrual blood flows backwards into the pelvis through the fallopian tubes, rather than exiting out through the vagina. Women with significant retrograde menstruation may be at increased risk of endometriosis.
– Induction theory – hormones or immune factors promote the transformation of peritoneal cells that line the inner side of your abdomen into endometrial-like cells.
– Endometrial cell transport – the blood vessels or tissue fluid system may transfer endometrial cells to other parts of the body.
– Genetics – endometriosis tends to run in families and can be inherited.
– Issues with the body’s immune system – the immune system may not recognize and destroy endometrial-like tissue that’s growing outside the uterus.
It can be difficult to diagnose endometriosis due to the variety of symptoms, and many other conditions can cause similar symptoms. Tests to check for endometriosis diagnosis include:
Pelvic exam – a manual check of the areas in the pelvis for abnormalities, such as cysts on reproductive organs or scars behind the uterus.
Ultrasound – using high-frequency sound waves, ultrasound creates the image of your body to get the best view of your reproductive organs.
Magnetic Resonance Imaging – an MRI exam uses a magnetic field and radio waves to create detailed images of the organs and tissues within the body and provide information about the location and size of endometrial implants.
Laparoscopy – in some cases, you might be referred to a surgeon to view the inside of your abdomen by inserting a small tube through a small cut in your tummy to see for any patches of endometriosis tissue.
One of the main complications of endometriosis is difficulty getting pregnant or not being able to get pregnant at all. However, not all women with endometriosis will have issues with conceiving. Otherwise, there are fertility treatments that can help women to get pregnant, such as IVF.
If you are having trouble conceiving, we offer female fertility tests to help you understand your fertility and ability to get pregnant.
Once women with endometriosis get pregnant, they’re expected to have a normal pregnancy. Pregnancy can temporarily relieve painful and heavy periods but they may return after giving birth.
Also, some women with endometriosis benefit from increased progesterone levels during their pregnancy, which is known to keep endometriosis from spreading – learn more about progesterone here.
Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis but there are treatments that can help ease the endometriosis symptoms. Endometriosis treatment can be given to:
1. Relieve pain by taking painkillers
2. Slow the growth of endometriosis tissue with hormone treatment to stop the production of oestrogen in the body, as it encourages endometriosis tissue to grow and shed
3. Improve fertility by having surgery such as laparoscopy, to remove or destroy areas of endometriosis tissue.
Here at The Evewell, we deeply care about all of our patients. If you have any concerns or experiencing any endometriosis symptoms, please get in touch with us to see how we can help. Whether that’s a consultation with one of our doctors to guide you through the treatment process, or putting you in touch with Fertility counsellors.
You can contact us by either emailing us at email@example.com or giving us a call on 020 3974 0950.