Endometriosis is a condition caused by growth of cells from the womb but outside of the womb such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, pelvis or lower abdomen. In response to hormonal changes during menstruation, the tissue outside the womb undergo inflammation, swelling and scarring as the break-down tissue cannot exit the body
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known. Possible explanations are due to reversed or retrograde menstruation where menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity instead of out of the body. These endometrial cells stick to the pelvic walls and surfaces of pelvic organs, where they grow and continue to thicken and bleed over the course of each menstrual cycle.
Some women may not get any symptom or they may get symptoms not related to menstruation. Among the symptoms are heavy and painful menses, pain over the lower abdomen and lower back, pain during sexual activitity and worse infertility. Women may also get symptoms not relate to reproductive system such as painful bowel movement, nausea, diarrhoea, vomiting and painful urination.
Diagnosis endometriosis can be challenging. Doctor will need to perform a thorough history and medical examination including pelvic assessment. Your doctor may also perform pelvic ultrasound and blood test for CA-125. Laparoscopy is the gold standard of diagnosing endometriosis. Laparoscopy is a minor surgical procedure in which a laparoscope, a thin tube with a camera at the end is inserted into the abdomen through a tiny hole. During laparoscopy, the cysts can be seen and biopsy usually taken to confirm the diagnosis.
Treatment of endometriosis is usually based on the patient’s desire for pregnancy. Medications options are pain killer, oral contraceptive pills and hormonal IUD. In cases where there are poor response to treatment, surgery can be perform to remove endometriosis tissue and scar tissue and in extreme cases, removal of the womb (hysterectomy) is performed.
If you have any questions about endometriosis, talk to our doctor for more information.