What is

Endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs when uterine cells, called the endometrium, grow outside of the uterus on other organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes or bladder. This displaced tissue continues to function as though it were inside the uterus, thickening, breaking down and shedding with each cycle. This can cause extremely painful periods and an increase in PMS symptoms.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Extremely painful periods
Pain during or after sex
Infertility (if left untreated)
Painful during urination and bowel movements
Excessive bleeding during or between periods
Gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, nausea or bloating

Causes

Endometriosis refers to the growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus. The exact cause is unknown, however, there are certain theories that have yet to be proved:

  • Retrograde menstruation: this occurs when menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows back through the fallopian tubes and attaches to the pelvic organs instead of exiting the body
  • Embryonic cell transformation: during puberty, hormones like estrogen can transform embryonic cells into endometrial cells
  • Surgical scar implantation: endometrial cells can attach to an incision site after surgeries like Caesarean section or hysterectomy
  • Endometrial cell transport: the lymphatic system may flush endometrial cells to other parts of the body
  • Immune system disorder: a compromised immune system may allow endometrial tissue to grow in abnormal places

Preventions

The pain associated with endometriosis can significantly compromise your quality of life. In most cases, treatment involves surgery or medication. If you are trying to get pregnant, your pelvic pain doctor will work with you to find an appropriate course of action. Treatment may include:

  • Medications to reduce chronic pain
  • Hormonal therapy
  • Surgery to remove endometriosis implants
  • Referral fertility treatments
  • Hysterectomy in cases of adenomyosis

If you’re experiencing any of the above symptoms, it may be time to see Dr. Sonia Bahlani.

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