Endometriosis is a chronic disease that can affect women of all ages. This condition occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside your uterine cavity, such as in the ovaries or fallopian tubes – the two very thin tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus.
The endometrium is normally present in the uterus. When women have endometriosis, the endometrium grows where it should not. In certain cases, the endometrium can even grow in other organs, such as the lungs.
Generally, women with endometriosis will experience symptoms such as abdominal pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fertility problems. Even though it is a chronic disease, endometriosis can be cured with proper treatment.
Causes of Endometriosis
According to research, the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown. It is still unclear how the endometrial tissue could grow outside the uterine cavity. However, endometriosis is thought to have a genetic predisposition.
Women from the same family are more likely to develop endometriosis. This condition is more likely to affect women with shorter menstrual cycles, which is when the menstrual intervals are less than 25 days apart or with menstrual periods that last more than 7 days.
Certain endometriosis patients experience pelvic pain. However, based on research, pelvic pain and endometriosis are not associated. This pain may be caused by bleeding, or from endometrial tissue growing on the nerve.
Endometriosis has the potential to cause fertility problems. Some researchers have stated that endometriosis might interfere with the ovulation process.
When to See a Doctor for Endometriosis?
The best time to consult a doctor is when you deal with irregular and painful menstrual cycles. The symptoms of endometriosis are similar to the symptoms of other diseases. Your doctor will first ask you about the symptoms, then perform an examination of the abdominal and vaginal area.
If the doctor diagnoses a possibility of endometriosis, you will be referred to an obstetrician and gynaecologist – a specialist doctor of the female reproductive system. The ob-gyn will perform a series of examinations, such as ultrasound and laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure used to examine the organs inside the abdomen.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Each person with endometriosis experiences different symptoms. Generally, the symptoms that may arise include:
- Pain in the lower abdomen or lower part of the spine, especially during menstrual periods
- Menstrual pain, which interferes with daily activities.
- Pain during or after having sex.
- Pain when urinating or passing stool
- Experiencing pain, constipation, bloody diarrhea during menstrual periods
- Infertility problems
Moreover, people with endometriosis usually have to wear large amounts of pads and tampons when menstruating. In some cases, endometriosis can have a significant effect like depression.
The symptoms of endometriosis also include pain or tenderness in the abdomen and spine. This pain is almost similar to that experienced during menstrual cramps. Seek immediate care when you cannot handle the pain or if other symptoms arise.
Treatment for Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a long-term (chronic) disease. There is no exact cure for endometriosis. However, there are several treatment options to reduce endometriosis symptoms:
- Painkillers, such as paracetamol. Paracetamol can be easily obtained at general pharmacies and drug stores. However, if the pain is getting worse, your doctor will prescribe a special paracetamol drug.
- Hormonal contraception. This is a method of birth control in endocrine tissues. This method can help stop excess menstrual cycles – which reduces symptoms of endometriosis. Hormonal contraception is carried out by consuming specified pills or inserting a vaginal ring.
- Surgery to cut endometrial tissue.
- Surgery to remove organs affected by endometriosis.
Patients with symptoms of acute endometriosis may have to undergo surgery. Surgery is performed to remove the endometrial tissue that causes endometriosis. This surgical procedure can reduce endometriosis symptoms and increase fertility.
The most common surgical method to treat endometriosis is laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is performed using a small tube with a light and a camera to look at the abdomen organs.
Treatment Cost for Endometriosis
The cost for Endometriosis treatment varies – depending on the patient’s condition and symptoms experienced.
For more information regarding the estimated costs of Endometriosis treatment, contact Smarter Health.
Prevention of Endometriosis
You cannot completely prevent endometriosis. However, there are numerous preventive measures that can be undertaken to reduce the symptoms of endometriosis, such as:
- Decrease levels of estrogen or female hormones from the ovaries. To do this, you need to ask a doctor for a prescription of estrogen-lowering medicines
- Engage in sports activities. All kinds of exercises can help prevent any diseases – even adequate and regular exercise can prevent you from developing symptoms of endometriosis. Get used to exercising at least 30 minutes a day, in order to control your body weight and fat.
- Avoid alcohol and caffeine. Excess alcohol and caffeine consumption can lead to increased estrogen levels. This increase can have an impact on endometriosis.
Home Remedies for Patients Diagnosed with Endometriosis
Symptoms of endometriosis cannot be completely cured. However, there are daily remedies that you can practice to treat endometriosis, such as:
- Exercise regularly
Regular exercise can reduce the pain and discomfort caused by endometriosis. Strenuous exercises and physical activities may increase the pain. However, over time, the pain gradually improves.
Start with light exercises first. Furthermore, women who regularly exercise have a lower risk of developing endometriosis.
- Control stress
Controlling stress and emotions can help relieve symptoms of endometriosis. Stress can make the symptoms of endometriosis even more difficult to treat.
Managing stress can be done with simple relaxation techniques, such as taking a deep breath through the nose and slowly exhaling through the mouth. In addition, regular exercise can also help reduce stress.
- Maintain a balanced diet
According to research, consumption of red meat can trigger endometriosis symptoms. Women who eat more fruits and vegetables have a lower risk of developing endometriosis.
Fatty foods can affect the production of prostaglandins in your body. Prostaglandins are hormone-like substances that are important for the reproductive system and wound recovery. High levels of prostaglandins lead to high estrogen production – which then affects endometrial tissue and triggers endometriosis.
Eat more healthy foods such as fruits and vegetables. Avoid fatty foods at all costs.