By Dr. Rubina Shanawaz Z
Endometriosis is a disease of the female reproductive system.It is increasingly becoming prevalent affecting 10%(190 million) of the world’s female population.This can affect women from puberty up until menopause.
What does “Endometriosis” mean?
Every month, a woman has her monthly periods and bleeds through the vagina.In women with Endometriosis,this blood also flows backwards into the abdominal cavity causing severe pain.Over time,the old blood acts like glue,sticking the intestines and urinary bladder to the uterus .
Why does this occur?
There are a multitude of factors causing this condition.This includes genetic,environmental and lifestyle causes.Most of the times,it is idiopathic.This means there is no one cause which can be attributed to this.
How will I know if I have endometriosis?
This can either present as severe pain not just during periods but also before period begins and after period ends.The pain increases when passing urine or stools.There can be pain during intercourse as well. It can also lead to passage of blood in the urine .It can also present as ovarian cysts filled with old blood.
In some women.the presence of endometriosis is only detected during evaluation for fertility .
What tests are done to detect this?
When your gynecologist suspects this condition,an ultrasound of the pelvis is usually done along with a blood test to detect the amount of inflammation caused by this condition.
What happens if this condition goes undetected?
Very rarely,this condition does not cause any symptom and is detected only on a routine ultrasound.The effects of endometriosis include chronic pelvic pain as described above.The constant pain and stress leads to fatigue,anxiety and depression.This impacts overall quality of life.
What are the long term effects?
There is a proven association of long term endometriosis and chance of developing epithelial ovarian cancers.There is also a risk of developing other autoimmune conditions such as systemic lupus erthematosus.
What are the treatment options?
The management will depend on the patient’s presenting complaint,age and desire for future fertility.The treatment will have to be tailored to each individual patient.The options range from hormonal medications in the form of oral tablets,injectables and intra uterine devices to surgical excision of the endometriosis lesions.
(The author is a Senior Consultant, Obstetrics & Uro Gynaecology, Fortis Hospital, Richmond Road, Bangalore. The article is for informational purposes only. Please consult medical experts and health professionals before starting any therapy, medication and/or remedy. Views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policy of the FinancialExpress.com.)