Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the uterine lining grows on your ovaries, bowel and inside your pelvis. The most common symptom of endometriosis is severe menstrual pain, but it can also cause a variety of other symptoms – and sometimes, no symptoms at all.
Endometriosis means that tissue similar to the uterine lining is located outside the uterus. The tissue can be found on your ovaries, bowel, bladder, peritoneum or intestines. The hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle can affect the endometrial tissue, causing inflammation and pain. Endometrial tissue will grow, thicken, and break down. It is not clear what causes endometriosis, but heredity can play a role.
Endometriosis can occur the first time you have menstruation, or later, and often ceases in connection with menopause.
Not everyone with endometriosis gets symptoms. The degree of symptoms can also vary over time and between different people. The most common symptom is severe menstrual pain.
Other symptoms may include:
- disorders of the urinary tract, such as blood in the urine,
- cramps for one or two weeks around menstruation
- heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
- difficulty getting pregnant
- pain following sexual intercourse
- discomfort with bowel movements
- lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle
- pain during intercourse, which may remain for several days
Endometriosis can also cause a general feeling of illness, lack of energy and fatigue.
The symptoms of endometriosis need to be investigated. The investigation involves, among other things, a gynecologic examination. The tissues are also studied, either by ultrasound or by viewing it directly via a laparoscopy. The tissue can be removed by the same procedure.
Prevention and Protection
Although there’s no way to totally prevent endometriosis, you may be able to lower your chances of getting the condition and to manage your symptoms if you do get it. You can:
- Avoid alcohol
- Cut down on caffeine
Hormone therapy can also help with pain, but the effects will only last as long as you are taking the hormones. As with any medication, you should talk with your doctor about the pros and cons before you decide to try it.
The purpose of treatment is to relieve pain and try to prevent endometriosis from worsening. This requires regular contact with a gynecologist.
Hormonal contraceptives that inhibit ovulation and prevent menstruation are believed to prevent endometriosis from developing and are recommended to most people with this diagnosis. The pain is treated primarily with a combination of paracetamol and NSAIDs.
Sometimes a surgical procedure can be performed to remove endometriosis.
Cognitive behavioral therapy, CBT, can also help to manage pain.
When to consult a doctor
Seek care if you suffer from severe menstrual pain, pain following sexual intercourse, heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods.
How APPOTEK can help
Apppotek can help you with endometriosis, by connecting you with a gynecologist or doctor to diagnose your condition. You may then be prescribed treatment or referred for further investigation.