Causes of Endometriosis
Anything that results in moving the endometrial tissue to another location outside the uterus, will result in endometriosis. It can also be inherited in the genes.
During a surgery to the abdominal area, such as a Cesarean (C-section) or uterus removal, endometrial tissue could be picked up and moved by mistake. So when these tissues are moved elsewhere, uterine tissues starts growing there. That is why sometimes, endometriosis can be observed on abdominal scars.
Retrograde Menstrual flow
During normal menstrual period, some of the blood flows backwards into the womb. This is called Retrograde Menstrual flow. This blood stays back within the tubes or inside the ovaries, causing endometriosis.
Endometriosis runs in families. So, it may be inherited in the genes.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Symptoms usually occur because the increasing size of the endometriosis compresses the surrounding organs or the uterus itself.
- Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods.
- Digestive problems.
- Bleeding or spotting in between menstrual periods.
- Difficulty getting pregnant.
This reveals presence of a mass or swelling, behind an abdominal or uterine scar. It is difficult to identify smaller areas of endometriosis using this technique. MORE….
Ultrasound or MRI
These diagnostic tests confirms the diagnosis and location of endometriosis.
A specialized instrument with camera and light at its end called laparoscope is inserted into the abdomen through a small incision over the navel. Live images can be seen on a video monitor connected to it. All the organs can be closely seen using this technique. In case of any suspicion regarding the lesion, a small sample can be scraped off (biopsy) and observed under a microscope. MORE…
Treatments for Endometriosis
- Hormonal treatment is usually started. This prevents production of egg temporarily thereby halting menstruation. So there is no retrograde flow. This in turn prevents the further growth of endometriosis.
- Birth control pills helps stop bleeding and reduce or eliminate pain.
- Pain medications give temporary relief.
Surgery is usually suggested in the following cases:
- Severe pain.
- Difficulty getting pregnant.
- When medications do not provide relief.
In young women, the affected area or organ is cleared off the endometrial scar tissue. Thereafter hormone treatment is started to help getting pregnant.
In case of women who have crossed their childbearing age, or no longer wish to have children, Uterus removal (Hysterectomy) is recommended. Along with this, the affected fallopian tube and ovary may also removed (Salphingo- Oophorectomy).
Prevention of Endometriosis
Research suggests that endometriosis can be prevented to an extent by the following techniques:
- Long term use of contraceptives (birth control pills).
- Frequent or early Pregnancy.
- Avoiding strenuous exercise during menstruation.
Dr. J. S. Rajkumar
M.S., F.I.C.S., Dip. N.B. (SURG.), F.R.C.S. (ENG.), F.R.C.S. (EDIN.), F.R.C.S. (GLASGOW), F.R.C.S. (IRELAND), F.I.M.S., F.A.I.S., F.R.M.S. (LONDON), F.A.E. (GASTRO), F.A.C.G. (USA), F.I.C.A. (USA), F.I.A.G.E.S., Dip M.I.S. (FR.)
Dr. Deepa Ganesh
ADVANCE LAPAROSCOPIC GYNECOLOGIST, ROBOTIC SURGEON & COSMETIC GYNECOLOGICAL SURGEON
M.B.B.S., M.S (OBG), F.MAS, D.MAS, FICRS, Dip.MIS (GERMANY), D.ALS (FRANCE), D.ACG (USA)