Endometriosis is characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, in places such as the intestines, ovaries, fallopian tubes or bladder. It can cause symptoms such as severe progressive pain, especially during menstruation, but which can also be felt on other days of the month.
In addition to endometrial tissue, the gland or stroma may also be present, which are tissues that should not be in other places of the body, apart from the uterus. This change can spread through various tissues of the pelvic cavity, causing chronic inflammation in these areas.
Treatment of endometriosis should be done according to the guidance of a gynaecologist and it involves the use of medications that help relieve and control symptoms, and it may also be necessary, in the most severe cases, to perform surgery.
Causes of endometriosis
Endometriosis does not have a well established cause, however, some theories explain what could favor the growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. The two main theories that explain endometriosis are:
- Retrograde menstruation, which is a situation in which menstruation blood is not eliminated correctly, and can move towards other pelvic organs. Thus, endometrial fragments that should be eliminated during menstruation remain in other organs, giving rise to endometriosis and its symptoms.
- Environmental factors such as the presence of pollutants that are present in fat of meat and soft drinks could alter the immune system, causing the body not to recognize these tissues. However, more scientific research must be carried out to prove these theories.
In addition, it is known that women with cases of endometriosis in the family are more likely to develop the disease and therefore genetic factors would also be a causative factor.
Symptoms of endometriosis are quite uncomfortable for a woman and the intensity and frequency of symptoms can vary every month and from one woman to another. The major symptoms of endometriosis include:
1. Severe pain in the pelvic region that worsens during menstruation
2. Abundant menstruation
3. Cramps during intercourse
4. Pain when urinating or defecating
5. Diarrhoea or constipation
6. Fatigue and excessive tiredness
7. Difficulty getting pregnant
If one or more of the symptoms is experienced, it is important to consult the gynecologist so that tests are performed to confirm the diagnosis of endometriosis and, thus, the most appropriate treatment can be started.
What should be the treatment?
Treatment for endometriosis should be prescribed by the gynecologist according to the symptoms presented by the woman, her age and severity of endometriosis. Thus, the following remedies can be recommended depending on the intensity of the disease:
- Mild endometriosis: Anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen, can be used, which reduce pain, but do not prevent the development of the disease.
- Deep endometriosis: Hormone remedies or surgery for endometriosis can be used, which help reduce the amount of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
However, these types of treatments reduce the chances of becoming pregnant and are only used in more advanced cases or when the woman is close to menopause.
1. Is there intestinal endometriosis?
Intestinal endometriosis can happen and it arises when endometrial tissue, which coats the inside of the uterus, begins to grow in the intestine, causing adhesions. This tissue also responds to hormones and causes bleeding during menstruation. Thus during this phase the woman also experiences bleeding through the anus, besides having very strong cramps.
2. Is it possible to become pregnant with endometriosis?
Endometriosis can prevent one from becoming pregnant and may cause infertility, but this does not always happen because it depends a lot on the tissues that are involved.
For example, it is much more difficult to become pregnant when there is endometriosis in the ovaries or fallopian tubes, than when it is in other regions. This is because inflammation of the tissues in these sites can affect the development of the egg and even prevent it from reaching the tubes, hence preventing it from being fertilized by sperm.
3. Can endometriosis be cured?
Endometriosis has a cure through surgery to remove all endometrial tissue scattered in the pelvic region, but it may also be necessary to remove the uterus and ovaries if the woman does not wish to become pregnant. There are other options such as analgesics and hormonal remedies, which help control the disease and relieve symptoms, but if the tissue is spread in other regions, only surgery will be make its complete removal.
4. How is surgery for endometriosis done?
The surgery is done by the gynecologist by laparoscopy and it involves removing as much endometrial tissue as possible that is outside the uterus. This surgery is delicate, but may be the best solution for the most severe cases, when the tissue has spread over several areas hence causing pain and adhesions.
5. Can too much colic be endometriosis?
One of the symptoms of endometriosis is intense colic during menstruation, however, there are other situations that also cause intense cramps such as dysmenorrhea. Therefore, the gynaecologist can recommend the right treatment based on the observation of the woman and her examinations.
6. Is Endometriosis fattening?
Endometriosis causes abdominal swelling and fluid retention because it ends up causing inflammation in the organs in which it is located, such as the ovaries, bladder and intestine. Although there is not a large increase in weight in most women, an increase in abdominal volume can be observed, especially pelvic in the most severe cases of endometriosis.
7. Is endometriosis cancerous?
Not necessarily, but since the tissue is scattered in areas where it should not be, this added to genetic factors, may facilitate the development of malignant cells. If the woman has endometriosis, she should follow up with the gynecologist, perform blood tests and ultrasound more regularly and should follow the treatment indicated by her doctor.
8. Is there natural treatment?
Onagra capsules contain gamma-linolenic acid in rich proportions. This is a chemical precursor of prostaglandins and are therefore a good natural option. Although they are not enough to cure the disease, they only help to combat the symptoms of endometriosis and making the day to day and stage of menstruation easier.
9. Does endometriosis increase the risk of miscarriage?
Usually symptoms of endometriosis improve during pregnancy and complications during pregnancy are very rare. Nevertheless, there is a slightly higher risk of women having placenta previa, which can be observed with more frequent ultrasounds, as requested by the obstetrician.