Endometriosis characteristics

This article was endorsed by Irene Mazzuca - Doctor of Medicine from the University of Rome "La Sapienza"

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disorder characterized by the growth of endometrial tissue (tissue that lines the inside of the uterus) in areas outside of the lining of the uterus (endometrium).

What is endometrial tissue?

It is the tissue that covers the inside of the uterus.

How does endometriosis occur?

When your period comes, it produces an irritation of this endometrial tissue outside the uterus so it becomes inflamed and bleeds as if it were the authentic endometrium, causing much pain, infection and inflammation in the affected area and may even cause infertility, abortion or increase the risk of ectopic pregnancy (those that occur outside the uterus).

Unlike authentic endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus, it keeps stuck, and eventually produces numerous scars and adhesions. If it grows on the ovaries, it can organize into endometriotic cysts, which can be very large and painful.

Normally, it usually affects the pelvic area outside the uterus (ovaries, bladder, fallopian tubes, bowel, rectum, etc.). But it even may occur in other areas (arms or lungs).

Whom does endometriosis mainly affect?

It is a disorder that affects 10% of women throughout their life, but especially women who can not have children, in which case the percentages exceed 25%.

It is diagnosed mostly between 25 and 40 years, but it begins with menstruation.

The symptoms disappear during pregnancy but usually reappear after birth.

Symptoms of endometriosis

How is endometriosis noted? Sometimes endometriosis has no symptoms. Other times, non-specific symptoms appear such as:

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Endometriosis affects 10% of women

  • Heavy bleeding in menstruation, with the appearance of large clots.
  • Pain.
  • Female infertility, possibility of abortion.
  • Cysts may develop in the ovaries.

Causes of endometriosis

The exact causes are not known although the following theories are postulated:

  • The menstrual flow returns by the tubes of Fallopian tube and the endometrial cells are implanted in the abdominal or pelvic cavity.
  • An unknown substance alters the cells of these cavities that spontaneously turn into endometrial tissue.
  • Endometrial cells are transported to other places by the blood or lymph vessels.
  • Errors of the immune system to allow these cells to be implanted in different parts of the endometrium.
  • Endometrial cells congenitally located outside the uterus.

Endometriosis risk factors

There are a number of factors that influence the development of this disorder. Among them, we would mention the following:

  • Heredity: Women with a family history are more prone to endometriosis.
  • Toxins and drugs: It is suspected that certain toxic compounds, including dioxins or certain medications can promote its appearance.

How is the pain in endometriosis?

The pain before and during menstruation occurs in the lower abdomen and back with the possibility of pain when urinating or having a bowel movement. The location of the pain varies according to the affected area, and becomes greater just after the end of menstruation. There may be blood in the urine or stool while menstruation lasts.

There may also be a sensation of pain in the penetration independent of menstruation and vaginismus.

How can endometriosis be prevented?

Although they are not scientifically documented, there are some tips that can be useful for general health and consequently to prevent or improve endometriosis. Among these we would have:

  • Practise exercise: Regular exercise from childhood brings benefits and could prevent the onset of endometriosis. On the other hand, the accomplishment of exercise in women who present this disorder, generates endorphins, which inhibit pain. Exercise should be done gently to avoid scarring and adhesions to develop.
  • Change your eating habits: A diet rich in vegetal foods, devoid of saturated animal fats and refined sugars, can help improve the symptoms of endometriosis. Blue fish, due to its richness in omega-3 fatty acids, helps reduce pain by inhibiting the production of prostaglandins.
  • There should not be exciting drink beverages such as coffee or cola, as they may increase irritability and consequently pain.
  • Do not obstruct the exit of the fluid in the period: Tampons are not adequate because, by preventing menstrual flow, they may increase the sensation of pain.
  • Changing sexual behavior: Given that the penetration is usually painful, they should take those positions that encourage intercourse without pain. Also it is convenient to use a lubricant to facilitate the penetration and avoid pain.
  • Apply heat or cold to painful parts: This can be a valid remedy to reduce pain.

Diagnostics of endometriosis

Before the onset of symptoms that may indicate endometriosis, we recommend a visit to a specialist to diagnose the possible existence of this disorder and recommend the most appropriate treatment to follow.

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Written by Editorial Botanical-online team in charge of content writing

3 July, 2020

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