WHAT IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (which should only be located inside the uterus) is found elsewhere in the body. Endometriosis can be found anywhere in the pelvis, but are most commonly seen behind the uterus and on the ovaries.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF ENDOMETRIOSIS?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. The pain is often worst during the time of periods; however a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain at other times. This pain can sometimes be quite severe and unbearable. Pain during and after sex might be present. Some women may have loose stools or constipation, especially during periods. The other well known symptom associated with endometriosis is infertility. This occurs in 30-40% of women with endometriosis.
WHAT CAUSES ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Several different hypotheses have been put forward to explain the cause of endometriosis. Unfortunately, none of them have been proven. Thus, the cause of endometriosis remains unknown.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
Your doctor may diagnose endometriosis if any of the above mentioned symptoms are present. An ultrasound scan helps confirm the diagnosis if cysts due to endometriosis (chocolate cysts) are present. A laparoscopy is often required to diagnose and treat endometriosis.
HOW IS ENDOMETRIOSIS TREATED?
There are different ways to treat endometriosis. This will depend on how extensive the disease is and what symptoms it is causing. Treatment options include
Hormonal therapy may include birth control pills, progestins and GnRH-analogues
Surgery is required to confirm the diagnosis and treat the problem. Surgery is usually by laparoscopy, though open surgery is needed in rare cases for extensive disease