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What is endometriosis?

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a health condition in which there is external growth of tissue that is similar to the tissue lining your uterus. People who have endometriosis usually suffer from severe pain and irritation during periods, scar tissue formation, and even fertility issues. Almost 10 women out of every 100 are said to suffer from endometriosis, but the statistics are incomplete because of how difficult it is for people suffering from endometriosis to get a diagnosis from their medical practitioner. To get an official diagnosis, surgery is a requirement, hence many people don’t receive an official diagnosis or have their concerns ignored until there are more severe symptoms.

What causes it?

The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, but there are several theories in the medical community regarding the cause. One of the theories is that endometriosis is caused by ‘retrograde menstruation’ where the menstrual blood flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of leaving the body through the vaginal passage. Another theory suggests that the condition may be caused due to small areas in the abdomen which were originally grown from embryonic cells converting to endometrial tissue. There is no scientific basis as to why it happens, but this sudden change is noted in patients suffering from endometriosis. There is also the more widely accepted theory that suggests that endometriosis starts during the fetal period, where the cell tissues get displaced and start acting up when the person undergoes puberty. 

What are the treatments available?

An official diagnosis can be obtained from your gynaecologist. Diagnosis for endometriosis consists of a pelvic exam, an ultrasound or in some cases, a surgical procedure known as laparoscopy, which enables the doctor to identify the endometriosis by viewing it. Once identified, there are some treatments available to manage the condition.

Unfortunately, there’s no one and done treatment or surgery available for the treatment of endometriosis. But there are different types of treatments that are aimed at reducing pain, helping with fertility and managing severe bleeding issues. Mild endometriosis is treated with painkillers, and if it's found to be ineffective, medicines such as Progestins, GnRH analogues and oral contraceptives are given to stop the monthly bleeding which aggravates the endometrial deposits, however, this treatment is not recommended to women looking to become pregnant soon. 

Severe symptoms of endometriosis and/or if the patient is not responding to any of the above treatments, then surgery would be considered. Surgery can consist of removal of the endometrial tissue or removal of avian cysts. However, in extreme cases, the patient is advised to undergo a hysterectomy in order to completely stop the recurrence of the condition.

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