What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis may be a disorder during which tissue almost like the tissue that forms the liner of your uterus grows outside of your cavity . The lining of your uterus is named the endometrium.
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue grows on your ovaries, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis. It’s unusual for endometrial tissue to spread beyond your pelvic region, but it’s not impossible. Endometrial tissue growing outside of your uterus is understood as an endometrial implant.
The hormonal changes of your cycle affect the misplaced endometrial tissue, causing the world to become inflamed and painful. This means the tissue will grow, thicken, and break down. Over time, the tissue that has broken down has nowhere to go and becomes trapped in your pelvis.
This tissue trapped in your pelvis can cause:
Ø scar formation
Ø adhesions, in which tissue binds your pelvic organs together
Ø severe pain during your periods
Ø fertility problems
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition, affecting up to 10 percent of women. You’re not alone if you have this disorder.
The symptoms of endometriosis vary. Some women experience mild symptoms, but others can have moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of your pain doesn’t indicate the degree or stage of the condition. You may have a mild form of the disease yet experience agonizing pain. It’s also possible to have a severe form and have very little discomfort.
Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. You may also have the following symptoms:
Ø painful periods
Ø pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
Ø cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
Ø heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
Ø pain following sexual intercourse
Ø discomfort with bowel movements
Ø lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle
You may also have no symptoms. It’s important that you get regular gynecological exams, which will allow your gynecologist to monitor any changes. This is particularly important if you have two or more symptoms.
What causes endometriosis?
During a regular menstrual cycle, your body sheds the lining of your uterus. This allows menstrual blood to flow from your uterus through the small opening in the cervix and out through your vagina.
The exact cause of endometriosis isn’t known, and there are several theories regarding the cause, although no one theory has been scientifically proven.
One of the oldest theories is that endometriosis occurs due to a process called retrograde menstruation. This happens when menstrual blood flows back through your fallopian tubes into your pelvic cavity instead of leaving your body through the vagina.
Another theory is that hormones transform the cells outside the uterus into cells similar to those lining the inside of the uterus, known as endometrial cells. Others believe the condition may occur if small areas of your abdomen convert into endometrial tissue. This may happen because cells in your abdomen grow from embryonic cells, which can change shape and act like endometrial cells. It’s not known why this occurs. These displaced endometrial cells may be on your pelvic walls and the surfaces of your pelvic organs, such as your bladder, ovaries, and rectum. They continue to grow, thicken, and bleed over the course of your menstrual cycle in response to the hormones of your cycle.
It’s also possible for the menstrual blood to leak into the pelvic cavity through a surgical scar, such as after a cesarean delivery (also commonly called a C-section).
Another theory is that the endometrial cells are transported out of the uterus through the lymphatic system. Still another theory purports it may be due to a faulty immune system that isn’t destroying errant endometrial cells.
Some believe endometriosis might start in the fetal period with misplaced cell tissue that begins to respond to the hormones of puberty. This is often called Mullerian theory. The development of endometriosis might also be linked to genetics or even environmental toxins.
According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, about 2 to 10 percent of childbearing women within the us between the ages of 25-40 have endometriosis. It usually develops years after the start of your menstrual cycle. This condition are often painful but understanding the danger factors can assist you determine whether you’re vulnerable to this condition and once you should ask your doctor.
Women of all ages are at risk for endometriosis. It usually affects women between the ages of 25 and 40, but symptoms can begin at puberty.
Talk to your doctor if you have a family member who has endometriosis. You may have a better risk of developing the disease.
Pregnancy may temporarily decrease the symptoms of endometriosis. Women who haven’t had children run a greater risk of developing the disorder. However, endometriosis can still occur in women who’ve had children. This supports the understanding that hormones influence the development and progress of the condition.
Talk to your doctor if you have problems regarding your period. These issues can include shorter cycles, heavier and longer periods, or menstruation that starts at a young age. These factors may place you at higher risk.
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