I have previously written about causes of infertility see post here.
In this post I want to explore endometriosis in more detail.i was moved to write about this after reading the story of Lene Dunham, the American actress who spoke about her decision to have a hysterectomy due to endometriosis.
Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) is outside of the uterus instead of inside and in other parts of the body.
It can be in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, inside the tummy, and in or around the bladder or bowel.
According to the endometriosis foundation of American
It is a disease of the female reproductive system.
It affects women of childbearing age.
1 in 10 women have the disease.
It is Not easily diagnosed.
It is one of the leading causes of infertility.
Pain in the lower tummy or back (pelvic pain) – usually worse during your period.
Period pain that prevents carrying out day to day activities.
Pain during or after sex.
Pain when peeing or pooping during your period
feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in pee during the period
Difficulty getting pregnant
It can also led to depression as it becomes a big part of a woman’s life.
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, see your Doctor. It might help to keep a diary of your symptoms (see link to a PDF diary below) as at when you get them, this helps to give the doctor a good description of the issue. This is because it is often difficult to diagnose as the symptoms are similar to other illness.
Your doctor should carry out some test or refer you to specialist (gynaecologist) who may carry out a laparoscopy.
Laparoscopy is where a surgeon passes a thin tube through a small cut in your skin so they can see any patches of endometriosis tissue. This is the only way to determine if the endometrial tissue is present.
Treatment and ways to alleviate pains.
The NHS and journal of endometriosis do recommend the following as treatment options:
Dietary changes: to include food with inflammatory properties can also help.
Cutting out caffeine and alcohol.
Take painkillers – such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
Hormone medicines and contraceptives – including the combined pill, the contraceptive patch, an intrauterine system (IUS), and medicines called gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues. According to the journal many women reports relief after taking the birth control pills.
Surgery to cut away patches of endometriosis tissue.
An operation to remove part or all of the organs affected by endometriosis – such as surgery to remove the womb (hysterectomy)
Having an hysterectomy is seen as an option but medical experts suggests that this should be the last option and only after seeking the advice of medical advice.
Some women take out their womb as well as the ovaries as the ovaries increases the severity of the pains due to the release of estrogen as egg is being released.
However some women do take out their womb and leave their ovaries in the hope of using their own eggs to have their own biological children.
Endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility in women. Surgery to remove endometriosis tissue can help improve your chances of getting pregnant, although there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to get pregnant after treatment.
Surgery for endometriosis can also sometimes cause further problems, such as infections, bleeding, or damage to affected organs. If surgery is recommended for you, talk to your surgeon about the possible risks.
Lena Dunham recently had an hysterectomy but left her ovaries. She has decided to openly talk about her experiences with the disease
Fertility expert recommends freezing one’s eggs to ensure that they remain healthy and not destroyed by endometriosis.
CAUSE OF ENDOMETRIOSIS
According to Endometriosis UK. Cause is still unknown and possible causes range from
Genetics – if the conditions runs in the families, and in certain ethnic group. You may be more likely affected by it.
Retrograde menstruation – when some of the womb lining flows up through the fallopian tubes and embeds itself on the organs of the pelvis, rather than leaving the body as a period.
Problem with the immune system (the body’s natural defence against illness and infection).
Endometrium cells spreading through the body in the bloodstream or lymphatic system (a series of tubes and glands that form part of the immune system).
But none of these theories fully explain why endometriosis occurs. It’s likely the condition is caused by a combination of different factors.-
Coping with Endometriosis:
Many women become aware of the disease after unsuccessful attempts to get pregnant.
So talk to your gynaecologist about your symptoms, and join support groups like, endometriosis UK which has a directory of local support groups.
Your partner in Hope