Endometriosis

 
 
Endometriosis is the growth of endometrium (the tissue that lines the uterus) outside of the uterus. Most often, endometriosis is found on other parts of the reproductive system, but in rare cases it can happen throughout the body.
 
Endometrium in your uterus swells with blood and other tissues just before your period. If you get pregnant, this provides a good environment for a fetus to grow. If you do not get pregnant, the extra tissue is shed as menstrual blood.
 
When patches of endometrium grow in other parts of the body, however, they can cause the formation of scar tissue and make other organs stick together, because the misplaced swollen endometrium is shed inside your body during your period just like the endometrium in your uterus. This can cause inflammation and pain.
 
You may have any or all of the following symptoms:
  • pain in the abdominal area and lower back, mainly during your period, but much worse than typical menstrual cramps
  • pain from sex
  • diarrhea, constipation or nausea
  • fatigue
  • infertility
 
Endometriosis may also be linked to other chronic health problems such as autoimmune diseases, chronic fatigue syndrome, fibromyalgia, allergies, and certain cancers.
 
If you have any of the above symptoms, talk with your doctor or your obstetrician/gynecologist (OB/GYN), who has the special training to identify endometriosis, which can be mistaken for other problems.
 
An OB/GYN uses tools such as an ultrasound and pelvic exam to look for more symptoms associated with endometriosis, but the doctor must look inside your abdomen to know for sure. Fortunately there is a relatively easy way to do that, called laproscopy, in which the doctor makes a small cut in your abdomen and inserts a small tube with a camera and a light to look inside for growths.
 
Unfortunately there is not a known cure for endometriosis, but some growths can be removed surgically with laproscopy, and there are other treatments that can help reduce pain and reverse infertility, such as hormone therapy. You should discuss your options with your doctor.
 
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