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Endometriosis Treatment

Endometriosis Treatment

The female reproductive organs are very fragile, but their dysfunction usually produces early symptoms, which make diagnosis and treatment more efficient. When the endometrial tissue (epithelial cells in the inner lining of the uterus) grows abnormally outward on the nearby tissues (ovaries, bowels), it generates a rather painful gynecological condition. If patients do not receive endometriosis treatment in time, it can cause tissue damage and abnormal tissue adhesions in the pelvis, ovarian cancer or infertility.

The inner lining of the uterus is a very special tissue that constantly changes with the female menstrual cycle: it gets thicker, breaks down and then at menstruation leaves the body in the form of blood. If the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, it behaves as if it was in the uterus, but the blood does not have a way out.

Causes and Risk Factors

You have higher risk of endometriosis if:

  • your uterus has an abnormal form
  • you have a family history of endometriosis
  • you have had a pelvic infection
  • you never gave birth

There is no medical consensus about the causes of endometriosis, certain conditions however are suspected causing factors:

  • After gynecological or obstetric surgery endometrial tissues can attach to the incision.
  • The menstrual blood contains endometrial cells which through the back flowing of blood can attach to the walls of the fallopian tubes and ovaries
  • It has also been related to immune disorders, as a healthy immune system should recognize and destroy misplaced endometrial tissue. 

Why Is Endometriosis Dangerous?

  • As it can cause cysts and abnormal uterus function, about half of the women suffering from endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant or can never get pregnant.
  • In endometriosis patients there is a higher risk of developing ovarian cancer and adenocarcinoma.
  • It can also lead to irritable bowel syndrome, urinary tract infections

Symptoms

  • Extreme cramping, pelvic and abdominal pain during menstruation that worsens over time
  • Severe pelvic pain
  • Difficulty in getting pregnant
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding and bleeding between periods.
  • Pain when urinating.
  • Headaches and depression
  • Bloating, nausea, constipation or diarrhea
  • Pain in legs and thighs

How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

The basic physical examination involves palpitation of the pelvic area and reproductive organs searching for abnormal growths or cysts.

Laparoscopic examination is used to determine the exact location and the extent of endometriosis. It is a minimally intrusive surgery done under general anesthesia, in which a small device called laparoscope is inserted in the abdomen. It is equipped with a light source, a camera and an instrument apt to take tissue samples from the pelvic area.

Endometriosis Treatment

Endometriosis treatment can happen with pain and hormone medications or with endometriosis surgery. Finding the right endometriosis treatment is essential if you are planning to get pregnant. To relieve pain with painkillers and anti-inflammatory drugs may ease symptoms, but does not treat the condition itself.

Hormone medications can also ease pain and slow down the cyclic activity of endometrial tissues. Depending on the extent and age of the patient it can happen with:

  • Birth control pills (to ease pain and the strength of menstruation)
  • Depo-Provera (stop the thickening of endometrial tissues and thus the menstruation)
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormones (it prevents menstruation by reducing the estrogen level, basically it is an artificially generated menopause)
  • Danazol can be another option that halts menstruation by blocking certain hormones that that stimulate the ovaries.

Endometriosis Surgery

If your condition does not improve considerably from medication, severe pain persists or you cannot become pregnant, your doctor will suggest endometriosis surgery.

The intervention is designed to remove as much endometrial tissue as possible and preserve the affected reproductive organs. The surgical means of endometriosis treatment might still not be a final solution as quite often endometriosis returns.

Endometriosis surgery can be performed with traditional, open surgery (if the endometriosis is extended) or with laparoscopy (making a small incision one removes the tissues with a laparoscope).

Endometriosis Treatment Centers

In specialized endometriosis treatment centers both medical and surgical solutions are provided along with assisted reproductive technology. In most patients the aim of the treatment is twofold: treat endometriosis, relieve symptoms and facilitate conception.

The best endometriosis treatment centers offer in vitro fertilization procedures, because with this illness natural conception has very low probability.