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Endometriosis Explained

Endometriosis Explained

Endometriosis develops in many women as a result of tissue (similar to the endometrium) that begins to grow outside of the uterus. The endometrium is the lining in the womb, and changes each month with menstruation. When a woman has endometriosis, it causes stomach pain, uncomfortable menstruation, and infertility in 40% of women who are affected.

Doctors are not entirely sure what causes endometriosis, but it is suspected that menstruation that happens backwards through the fallopian tubes could be responsible. Other physicians believe that there is a correlation between women who have never had children and the development of endometriosis. There have been many studies done on endometriosis, but health care providers still do not have a definitive answer on what leads to this tissue growing abnormally in the body.
Your menstrual blood is made up of endometrial glands, blood and connective tissue, and endometrial epithelium. In women who suffer from endometriosis, the endometrium breaks into pieces, and is discarded into the vagina as it is in women with normal cycles. However, in the case of endometriosis, the blood escapes through openings in the womb into the fallopian tubes and into the peritoneal cavity. These pieces then attach themselves to the layer of the peritoneal cavity and start to grow, which causes pain.

Endometriosis can be extremely painful, and can also cause emotional stress to women, especially if infertility is present. Some women who develop endometriosis are quite young, and must deal with potential infertility before they have had a chance to become pregnant.

To diagnose endometriosis, your doctor will perform a laparoscopy, which involves using a laparoscope to view the reproductive organs. Usually, women are alerted to endometriosis by stomach pain and painful sexual intercourse. It is important that you seek treatment if you suspect that you may have endometriosis, as the sooner it is dealt with the better your chance is for managing it comfortably.

You can treat endometriosis with surgery or medicine. Your physician might recommend that you undergo surgery to destroy the lesions in your peritoneal cavity. Or, you may be prescribed drugs that will thin your endometrium. If you receive continued treatment for endometriosis, you will need to monitor your bone density.Many drugs for endometriosis can cause a loss of bone density, similar to what you would experience with menopause. Today, most doctors recommend surgery rather than prescription drugs, but speak to your doctor about your options if you have endometriosis.


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