Endometriosis is a condition in which the cells that form the endometrial lining of the uterus, start developing outside the uterine cavity, mostly on the ovaries. This abnormal growth of the endometrial cells on the surface of the ovaries or any other organ can impair the function of that particular organ.
This condition occurs in the availability of hormone estrogen and hence, endometriosis is typically seen in pre-menopausal women. Although in post-menopausal women, endometriosis is in quite an aggressive form and involves complete progesterone resistance. This condition is quite rare and is estimated to occur in about 6 to 10% of women.
The exact cause of this gynecological medical problem is unknown. Yet it is thought to occur genetically. Retrograde menstruation, that is, the back flow of menstrual blood into the fallopian tubules, can cause endometriosis. Another cause may include immune dysfunction.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Endometrial cells growing outside the uterine cavity will respond to the hormone estrogen in the same way they use to do inside the uterus. That is, they will thicken in the presence of estrogen forming a lump or mass. This may lead to the onset of serious symptoms. Some of the symptoms of endometriosis are as under.
Recurring pelvic pain is a major symptom of endometriosis. The pain may vary from severe to mild. It may occur on both the sides of the pelvis, lower back as well as can occur in legs and in the rectal area. The intensity of pain varies amongst the affected women. Some might have quite extensive endometriosis but may have less pain. While some affected women might have quite a small mass but may have severe pain. Pain in pelvic area or lower abdomen may worsen during the days of periods or just before it.
Pain During Periods
Due to endometriosis, pain may also occur during periods. This is known as dysmenorrhea in medical terms. Painful periods due to endometriosis are different from the normal ones.
During normal periods, pain is not that much severe and does not last as long as the pain that occurs due to endometriosis.
Pain During Sex
Painful sexual intercourse is also known as dyspareunia. Due to endometriosis, pain may last up to few hours after sex.
Dysuria is the medical terminology for painful urination. Urinary urgency, frequency and pain during urination may also be some of the symptoms of endometriosis.
Bleeding from the back or rectal bleeding is an uncommon symptom of endometriosis.
Some rare symptoms of endometriosis are blood in cough and chest pain which is when the endometrial cells develop in lungs.
Many women with infertility have endometriosis as a common disease. A serious effect of endometriosis is the formation of adhesions between the organs. These adhesions are the result of scarring. Adhesion between organs can cause them to dislocate. Bounding can take place between the fallopian tubules, ovaries, uterus, bladder and the bowel.
Organ adhesion can be really painful. The relation between endometriosis and organ adhesion is not well understood but there are some facts such as these lesions release certain factors that are harmful to embryos or gametes. Endometriosis is also a secondary condition in women who fail to conceive.
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