Endometriosis explained

woman doc

Endometriosis affects approximately 1 out of 10 women and is the leading cause of infertility in the United States. Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, attaches itself elsewhere in the abdomen causing pain, irregular bleeding and possible infertility. Normally this happens in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, rectum, bladder, or sometimes even the pelvic cavity. The condition can decrease a woman’s chance of conceiving by 40%.

While doctors and researchers are unclear as to the cause of endometriosis, one thing is certain: an excess of estrogen is one contributing factor. One theory is that the endometrial tissue in the menstrual blood flows up through the fallopian tubes and implants erroneously in the pelvic cavity. Some theorize that this disorder could be genetic.

There are treatment options and the best one will depend on age, severity of symptoms and disease, and whether or not you want to maintain fertility. For women uninterested in having children, a simple monitoring of the disease and occasional painkillers may be all that’s required. Pseydopregnancy, tricking the body into thinking its pregnant, can be achieved through the use of hormones. This state will relieve many of the symptoms but will not stop the scarring which will hinder fertility. Since hormones are a major contributing factor to this disorder, many health professionals believe it is a good idea to treat the woman’s liver function with herbs, particularly burdock. A healthy functioning liver will help eliminate excess estrogen from the body. Medicines can also stop the ovaries from producing estrogen which will relieve some symptoms.

Surgery is also an effective, while invasive, option. Laparoscopic surgery has been used to diagnose endometriosis and if the disease is present, treatment in affected areas may be made at the same time. The success of surgery depends on the severity of the disease. Pregnancy rates after surgery could improve as much as 75% for mild endometriosis, 50-60% for moderate, and 30-40% for severe cases. Many women have also been told that a hysterectomy is a definitive solution for this disease but will end any chances of reproduction.

Talk to your doctor if you have concerns about endometriosis. Symptoms of this disorder may include painful periods, pain in the lower abdomen felt a week or two before your period, pain during menstruation, pain during or following intercourse, intestinal gas, severe cramping, excessive menstrual bleeding, insomnia, diarrhea, constipation and depression and problems achieving pregnancy. That being said, for some women, there are no symptoms at all.

Source: The Pregnancy Health, Regina Preetorius


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