Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis - What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which fragments of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) spread to other tissues, such as the wall of the uterus, the ovaries, the peritoneum, or the bowel. The causes of the disease are unknown, but its incidence is higher in white women and in women who defer pregnancy. The fragments are benign, but may cause complications if they lodge in a critical location, leading to an organ dysfunction.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

In most of the cases there are no definite symptoms, and the condition is found only during a surgical operation for some other disorder.
When present, symptoms of Endometriosis include heavy periods, often more frequent than usual, accompanied by pain (dysmenorrhea); pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia); sometimes infertility; and sometimes pain on defecation during a period.
The abnormally placed fragments of endometrium pass through the same monthly cycle as does the normal endometrium; they swell before a period and then bleed.
Because there is no outlet for the blood, cysts form. These occasionally rupture, causing severe abdominal pain.
The symptoms of Endometriosis usually disappear during pregnancy, which may cure the condition, and after menopause.

Endometriosis treatment

In mild cases, painkilling drugs may lessen the symptoms.
Rarely, the fragments of endometrium can be found and removed surgically.
All of the symptoms are relieved by artificially inducing menopause by irradiation or surgical removal of the ovaries, so that the uterus and the abnormal tissue cease to be stimulated by ovarian hormones. The hormone pills used for contraception may also help, and these work without sterilizing the patient. A woman with the symptoms should consult a gynecologist.

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