What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful disorder that normally lines the inside of your uterus when the endometrium grows outside your uterus. The most common locations for these growths are the outside surface of the uterus, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the ligaments that support the uterus, the intestines, the bladder, the internal area between the vagina and rectum, and the lining of the pelvic cavity.
The causes of endometriosis
Until now, doctors are not sure about the causes of endometriosis. But this symptom usually happens in teens and women who have a family member or who has been diagnosed with endometriosis.
There are several theories about how the endometrial tissue get outside the uterus in the first place. However, scientists continue to research the condition to help doctors fully understand and treat it.
What are the signs and symptoms of endometriosis?
The most common sign of endometriosis is severe pelvic (lower abdominal) pain. It may occur occasionally or constantly, and it may be associated with a girl’s period. With endometriosis, the pain is usually so bad that it causes a girl to miss school, sports, and social activities.
Other possible symptoms include:
- Pelvic pain that gets worse after sex or after a pelvic exam;
- A very heavy period;
- Lower back pain;
- Constipation, diarrhea, feeling pain or seeing blood when going to the bathroom (endometrial implants can press on some of the organs involved in getting waste out of the body, such as the bladder, intestines, and rectum).
If a girl notices these symptoms, it does not mean that she has endometriosis. Lots of other things, like an infection, may cause similar symptoms. But it is important to see a doctor right away if you notice these symptoms.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
It is difficult to diagnose endometriosis because there are a lot of things can cause pelvic pain. So even if a girl’s symptoms point to endometriosis, a doctor may want to rule out other possibilities.
In addition to doing a physical exam, the doctor will take your medical history by asking you about any concerns and symptoms, your past health, your family’s health, any medications you are taking, any allergies you may have, and other issues. The doctor may ask about your periods and whether you have had sex. It is necessary to answer all of these questions honestly to help your doctor figure out what happens in your body.
Depending on your symptoms, the doctor might ask you to keep a pain diary, which may involve recording this information every time you experience pain:
- Type of pain;
Besides, the only way to know the certain whether a girl has endometriosis is to perform a minor surgical procedure called laparoscopy. This allows the doctor to know for certain whether a girl has endometrial implants and how extensive they are.
Also, the doctor may order scanning tests that can create images of the pelvic region, such as ultrasound or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
How is endometriosis treated?
Unfortunately, endometriosis can not be cured, its symptoms can be controlled.
Doctors often prescribe birth control pills, other medications, or even surgery in case that medications do not work. However, there are some changes in lifestyle could be useful such as a healthy diet, moderate exercise, and relaxation techniques like yoga.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.
Review Date: January 4, 2017 | Last Modified: January 4, 2017