Endometriosis is a disorder of the female reproductive system whereby the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow outside the uterus. Endometrial tissue can make its way back to the ovaries and fallopian tubes, rather than being expelled during menstruation. As tissue builds up, nearby tissue can become irritated, develop scar tissue, and stick to the nearby tissue. This can lead to severe pain before and during menstruation. Displaced tissue still continues to function in the same way it normally would – thickening, breaking down, and bleeding during a period. In the ovaries, endometrial tissue can lead to cysts in the ovaries. Endometriosis often leads to infertility.
What Causes Endometriosis?
It is unknown what the exact cause of endometriosis is. There are a few possibilities that have been developed by researchers. One idea is that endometrial cells fall back into the fallopian tubes instead of being released by the body. These cells adhere to the walls of the pelvic region where they continue to grow over the course of each menstrual cycle. Another theory is that hormones or immune issues cause peritoneal cells to turn into endometrial cells. Some researchers have come up with the idea that hormones may transform embryonic cells into endometrial cells during puberty. It has also been noted that endometrial cells tend to attach to surgical areas after c-sections and hysterectomies. One other theory is that immune disorders may make it difficult for the body to recognize and eliminate endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus.
Several risk factors associated with the development of endometriosis include never giving birth, having an early puberty or later menopause, shorter menstrual cycles, higher estrogen levels, low body mass index, excess alcohol consumption, family history of endometriosis, and abnormalities of the uterus.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
- Painful periods including pelvic pain and cramping before your period. Pain can also reach to the abdomen and lower back area.
- Pain during or after intercourse.
- Pain during bowel movements or urination.
- Heavy bleeding during periods.
- Bleeding between periods.
What are the Available Options for Treating Endometriosis?
Treatment for endometriosis varies depending on the severity of the pain and whether you are trying to become pregnant. Contact an endometriosis specialist NYC to find out which option is best for you.
On the more conservative side, you can take over-the-counter pain medications to relieve the pain of cramps during your period. Various hormone therapies can help slow and prevent growth of new endometrial tissue. A laparoscopy can take place along with surgery to remove the endometrial cells outside the uterus. A more extreme measure is to have a hysterectomy. Which treatment you choose depends on your level of discomfort, pain, and desire to bear children. Consult with an endometriosis specialist NYC today to discuss your needs and find out what is right for you.