Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to that lining the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of it. It can appear in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and throughout the abdominal area, while more rarely it can be found in other areas of the body.
In endometriosis, this tissue functions like endometrial tissue, participating normally in the menstrual cycle, and can result in the formation of cysts in the ovaries, called chocolate cysts because they contain content that resembles chocolate in color and texture.
Endometriosis occurs in women of all ages, even in adolescents. It is the cause of severe pain, especially during menstruation, which can affect daily life, fertility, bowel function, and urination. It is a condition that, in addition to your health, can significantly affect your quality of life and have significant social and economic implications, as it can sometimes prevent you from going to work, school, or university.
What are the causes of endometriosis?
The exact causes of endometriosis have not yet been determined, but medical research has identified some factors that increase the likelihood of developing endometriosis. Some of the possible risk factors include heredity, hormonal imbalances, immune system dysfunction, and retrograde menstruation, which occurs when blood during menstruation flows backwards and deposits endometrial tissue outside the uterus through the fallopian tubes. In many cases, endometriosis is due to a combination of different factors.
Symptoms of endometriosis: When should I go to the gynecologist?
The symptoms of endometriosis are often symptoms that are common to other diseases or resemble the symptoms of menstruation. As a result, many women (and sometimes doctors) do not consider them significant or worrying. For this reason, diagnosing endometriosis is difficult and often delayed.
In summary, the symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Menstrual disorders
- Pain during toilet use due to pressure on the bladder or intestine
- Pain during menstruation, so strong that it interferes with daily life, lasts for several days and may reflect on other parts such as the back and waist
- Chronic abdominal pain and during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
- Excessive bleeding during menstruation
- Fatigue, malaise, or nausea, especially during menstruation
- Anxiety or depression
It should be noted that the intensity of pain may not be a reliable symptom for the extent of endometriosis. You may have mild endometriosis with intense pain or extensive endometriosis with little or no pain. Additionally, endometriosis and its symptoms may temporarily improve during pregnancy or disappear entirely with menopause.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
Diagnosing the disease can be a long and difficult process, as its symptoms may be similar to those of other conditions.
Common diagnostic tests and procedures include gynecological examination, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging. Additionally, diagnostic laparoscopy can confirm the presence of endometriosis lesions under direct vision.
There are several options for treating endometriosis, including medication and complementary therapies.
Medical treatment includes hormonal therapy and pain management drugs, which can help manage symptoms but do not cure endometriosis.
Complementary therapies, such as physiotherapy and acupuncture, can also offer relief to some women. The best therapeutic option depends on individual symptoms and the severity of the condition.
Laparoscopy: Treating Endometriosis with Modern Tools
The treatment of endometriosis focuses, as mentioned, on symptom relief, fertility improvement, and pain alleviation. Surgical treatment may provide a solution where medication does not yield the desired results.
The most important tool for treating it is the removal through laparoscopy. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery, performed for treating significant abdominal organ conditions.
In endometriosis, laparoscopy is done either for diagnosis and locating the affected points by the disease or for removing endometrial tissue from these points, restoring organ function.
Surgical intervention, like laparoscopic removal of endometrial tissue, can effectively treat and relieve patients with severe symptoms, but may not prevent its recurrence.
Living with Endometriosis
Living with endometriosis can be difficult, both physically and emotionally. It is important for women with endometriosis to engage in self-care and seek support from friends and family.
Some practical tips for managing the condition include maintaining a healthy diet, regular exercise, and finding ways to manage stress. Work adjustments, such as flexible hours or telecommuting, may also be needed. Additionally, support groups and online communities can offer community and relief to women with endometriosis.
How We Can Help You?
Endometriosis is a widely underdiagnosed condition. Therefore, public awareness needs to be enhanced for sensitization and a better understanding of the condition.
If you have symptoms of endometriosis, have already been diagnosed with it, or have already undergone treatment without results, it is important to visit us. After recording your history and reviewing any tests you have already done, we may ask for additional tests to confirm the diagnosis. If you have been recommended laparoscopy for endometriosis, we will inform you about the entire process, from preparation to what to expect during and after the procedure. Additionally, we will answer all your questions before and after the surgery, for as long as endometriosis and its symptoms are a problem for you.
Endometriosis is a complex condition, therefore, if you have endometriosis, consult exclusively with gynecologists who specialized in it, and have been trained in laparoscopy.