What is endometrosis?
This is a condition in which the cells that form the inner lining of the womb are also found outside of the uterus. Endometriotic tissue undergoes hormonal changes (just like endometrium – inner lining of womb) and produces inflammation that produces pain. In time scarring may form which can distort the anatomy and pull on various organs producing more pain.
What are symptoms of endometrosis?
The main symptom is painful periods. Other symptoms are painful intercourse, pain with bowel movements and bladder emptying , chronic pelvic pain, reduced fertility, bowel symptoms (bloating, diarrhoea, constipation). Symptoms are especially pronounced during periods. Endometriosis on an ovary can produce endometrioma (also known as chocolate cyst – chocolate due to brown blood accumulated within).
Sometimes only a small amount of endometriotic tissue causes severe pain, and inversely some women with severe endometriosis have minimal pain.
How is endometrosis diagnosed?
Endometriosis can be definitively diagnosed only with laparoscopy. However, additional tests may be required such as ultrasound.
How is endometrosis treated?
- anti-inflammatory analgesics
- hormonal contraception (mini pill, combined oral contraceptives, hormonal IUD)
- hormones which stop ovaries from producing hormones
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