Quick Info: What You Have to Know About Endometriosis

Medically reviewed by Robyn Faye, M.D.

March is Endometriosis Consciousness Month.

Endometriosis is a painful situation that impacts greater than 11% of women ages 15-44. HealthyWomen reached out to Robyn Faye, M.D., an OB-GYN with the Abington Main Ladies’s Healthcare Group and member of HealthyWomen’s Ladies’s Well being Advisory Council, to get the fundamental details.

What’s endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a pelvic ache situation that happens when tissue much like the tissue that strains the uterus, often called endometrial tissue, turns into implanted exterior the uterus and creates growths often called endometrial implants. The commonest location of endometriosis is the ovaries, however it will also be discovered anyplace within the physique, together with on the fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, on the bowels or bladder, and within the peritoneum, uterosacral ligaments and rectouterine pouch (often called rectovaginal endometriosis). A small percentage of endometriosis circumstances have an effect on the appendix.

What are the signs?

Signs might embrace persistent ache; diminished fertility; irregular intervals; painful menstrual cramps, often called dysmenorrhea, and painful intercourse.

You might also expertise fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, particularly throughout menstrual intervals.

How is endometriosis recognized?

Endometriosis shares signs with many different situations, so it will probably take some time to get a prognosis. In reality, it usually takes 7-12 years from the onset of signs to a prognosis. Generally, signs ultimately result in a prognosis, however round 20%-25% of women may be asymptomatic and are solely recognized throughout a pelvic examination or ultrasound. Typically a prognosis is made upon sight throughout a cesarean part, and a definitive prognosis could be made with a laparoscopy, a process the place a surgeon makes use of a small scope to search for endometrial tissue exterior the uterus or on the uterus and different pelvic organs.

What are the chance elements for endometriosis? 

When you began your interval earlier than age 11, have a menstrual cycle that is shorter than 27 days or a heavy menstrual move that’s longer than per week, you’re at higher risk for endometriosis. Moreover, there’s some evidence that exhibits ladies are at higher danger of creating the situation if an in depth member of the family (mom, sister, aunt or cousin) has it. Moreover, analysis suggests that ladies with endometriosis usually tend to have a peak higher than 68 inches and to have a decrease BMI.

What are the remedy choices for endometriosis?

The primary line of remedy is painkillers, corresponding to acetaminophen or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medication (NSAIDS), and hormonal contraception or progestin alone. Subsequent comes long-term hormone therapy, which might cut back ache and gradual the expansion of endometrial implants. Surgery will also be carried out to take away endometrial implants, which might cut back ache, however the implants can develop again. Laparoscopic surgical procedure is taken into account the gold standard in relation to surgical remedy for endometriosis.

Different surgical procedures embrace chopping pelvic nerves to scale back ache. If endometriosis worsens, an oophorectomy — a process that removes the ovaries — or a hysterectomy could also be carried out: Each procedures have additionally been proven to reduce or remove ache related to endometriosis.

What different well being situations are associated to endometriosis or can develop on account of endometriosis?

Related situations embrace:

  • fibromyalgia
  • interstitial cystitis, a persistent bladder situation
  • TMJ, a situation that causes the jaw to lock
  • inflammatory bowel illness
  • migraine

Endometriosis may additionally be related to an elevated danger of getting sure cancers, together with:

  • ovarian most cancers
  • endometrial most cancers, a sort of most cancers that begins within the uterus
  • non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, a most cancers that begins within the physique’s lymphatic system
  • melanoma, a sort of pores and skin most cancers

How can endometriosis have an effect on a lady’s fertility?

Some ladies with endometriosis can conceive and carry a child to time period. In reality, generally endometriosis is recognized visually throughout a cesarean part. In different circumstances, the tissue discovered exterior the uterus, often called endometrial implants, causes irritation, which might trigger infertility or fertility issues. When implants attach to the fallopian tubes, they will result in a delayed egg launch and have an effect on the physique’s potential to switch sperm to the launched egg. In ladies with endometriosis-associated infertility, laparoscopic surgical procedure and in vitro fertilization (IVF) can result in improved pregnancy rates.

How can ladies enhance their endometriosis signs?

Oral contraceptives can cut back the ache of endometriosis and forestall the endometrial cells from shedding and inflicting irritation, limiting the expansion of endometrial implants.

What are some different remedies or life-style modifications ladies could make to assist relieve signs of endometriosis? 

The Nationwide Institutes of Well being does not record any different remedies for endometriosis, however a 2018 examine confirmed that acupuncture, yoga, exercise and electrotherapy might assist relieve endometriosis-related ache.

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