Do not underestimate bloating, abdominal pain, fatigue and the “huge” amount of blood coming out while in a period. They may be no ordinary menstruation symptoms, but it can be an endometriosis. Here’s what you need to know.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the growth of endometrial cells (cells of the womb) which is abnormal outside the wall of the uterus. The problem is that the cell acts as if it is inside the womb, which is responding to your menstrual cycle. Each month, the woman’s body releases a hormone that makes the uterus wall preparing to receive the fertilized egg. If no fertilization occurs, the entire wall would dissolve. And it is then coming out through the cervix, which means that you are having menstruation. Endometriosis cells also develop and dissolve, but the blood can not expelled, and disrupt the area around the ovary, Fallopian tube, and around the uterus or bowel. It could also stick in the vagina, cervix, and urinary tract.
What causes it?
The cause is not yet discovered in certainty. But there is a possibility that it may be caused by ‘retrograde menstruation’, which occurs when blood rather than out, it instead returns back to the pelvic area through the Fallopian tube. It can also be caused by abnormalities of the immune system, in which the body can not destroy the strange cells growing. But once again, it has not been found yet the certain cause and symptoms of this disease.
Am I suffering from endometriosis?
Endometriosis does not have specific symptoms. The common one is pain in the pelvic and infertility. Pelvic pain usually occurs during or before the period and decreased thereafter. Sex can also become painful. It happens the same way while someone is taking urination. The intensity of pain can change from time to time and vary among patients. There are some get worsen, but there are some who got better even without treatment.
Other symptoms associated with endometriosis include lower abdominal pain, diarrhea or constipation, back pain, excessive menstrual bleeding, or urine that contains blood.
Because the symptoms are not certain, and it could be a symptom of another disease, the diagnosis of endometriosis requires time and a thorough examination. It is advisable to not taking the pain not seriously. Record when the disease appears and ask for doctor’s diagnosis. One way to ensure it is by doing the laparoscopy, in addition to internal checking and ultrasound. Laparoscopy is a minor operation where a hole will be made in the stomach, so doctors could observe the internal organs using a small camera. If the endometrial and the sticky cells are found outside the uterus, it can be an endometriosis. There are four stages of endometriosis. But the symptoms or pain do not determine the endometriosis stages.
How is the treatment?
Painkillers can be helpful when the symptoms appear. The treatment depends on several factors such as age, stage, symptoms felt and whether you’re planning to have children or not. Hormonal drugs and birth control pills usually applied because it can regulate the cycle while the pain due to endometriosis appears (not when in time of menstruation, so it won’t be painful). In some more serious cases, surgery is recommended. This includes the removal of the sticky part by using laser. It can also be conducted during laparoscopy. This is especially for those who are planning for a pregnancy, because it was impossible to take hormones medication or that that can affect the monthly cycle.
Endometriosis is usually found in women during their reproductive period. About 20% to 50% of women who are infertile suffer from endometriosis, and 80% who develop chronic pain in the pelvis was also diagnosed with endometriosis. Although most of it occurs in women aged 25-35 years, endometriosis also occurs in teenagers. And it rarely occurs in women approaching menopause. It is more common to happen to Caucasian women than African American and Asian. Delaying pregnancy until an older age is also thought to increase the risk of endometriosis.