Endometriosis… What’s that?

This problem is getting to be so common and may be the biggest cause of infertility in women. Our grandmothers married young and this problem was rare in their time.

But women are marrying later and because of this disease, they find it difficult to conceive.

This disease is caused by menstrual flow which sometimes flows through the Fallopian Tube into the abdominal cavity carrying with it endometrial cells which line the womb. These cells are like seedlings which take root all over the surrounding area and grow. Every month as the endometrial lining of the womb is growing and getting thicker, the seedlings in the abdomen also grow forming ‘cysts’.

When the endometrium is shed during menstruation, the endometrial cells outside the womb also bleed, but they bleed inwards and form dark red or ‘chocolate’ cysts. These cysts can be large and numerous, they can grow on the ovaries and choke them up or irritate the area and cause scarring and adhesions, distorting or blocking the Fallopian Tubes.

Symptoms of endometriosis:

  1. You may have painful periods, more intense or longer in duration than the 24 hours of usual menstrual pain.
  2. You may be having severe backaches with your periods or even at other times, and sometimes the sensation of wanting to pass motion all the time.
  3. You may be having difficulty getting pregnant.

Treatment for endometriosis:

  1. Get pregnant – because during pregnancy there is no menstruation and the cysts shrivel up. But the problem is that it is not easy to conceive!
  2. Surgery – a tedious process of looking for each cyst and removing it or having it burnt off (cautery).
  3. Medication – taking hormones for 6-9 months to create a condition similar to pregnancy and hope that the cysts shrivel up and die. The hormones have potential side-effects though.
  4. Wait for menopause at about 48 years of age for all hormonal activity to stop. This is for women who get endometriosis later in life even after having children. Our grandmothers did not have this condition because they had their children young and at more frequent intervals. They did not stop at one or two.

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