What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition when ‘lining of the uterus’ (also known as endometrium) is found outside the uterus. During menstrual period, this endometriotic tissue also bleeds and swells-up. That’s why pain during periods is a common symptom of endometriosis. The common sites for endometriosis are: behind the uterus (along uteroscaral ligaments), ovaries and bowel.
How common is it?
Very common. Nearly 10% of women have endometriosis, but not all will have symptoms.
What symptoms are caused by endometriosis?
In addition to pain during periods, pain associated with intercourse is also a typical symptom of endometriosis. Sometimes, this pelvic pain can last throughout the cycle. Pain can also be associated with endometriotic ovarian cysts (chocolate cysts or endometrioma) and involvement of bowel. Bowel involvement (rectovaginal septum endometriosis) is relatively uncommon but may lead to severe symptoms during periods.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
Clinical history and examination often make the diagnosis of endometriosis obvious. If the endometriosis involves the ovaries, these cysts can be diagnosed during an ultrasound scan.
A laparoscopy (look inside the tummy with a telescope) is the surest way of confirming the diagnosis and it can often be treated during the same procedure.
How endometriosis is treated?
Endometriosis can be treated by medical or surgical means. Tri-cycling the contraceptive pill (taking 3 packs together without a break) is the easiest way of treating endometriosis. This way you get a longer gap between periods; which gives your body a window of opportunity to heal endometriosis.
Laparoscopic (key-hole) surgery is often the best way to cure endometriosis. Endometriosis can be either excised or ablated during key-hole surgery.
How can you prevent recurrence of endometriosis?
Recurrence of endometriosis occurs in 15% of cases. Your surgeon may recommend either taking hormone injections or tri-cycling the pill after your procedure. Mirena coil is also associated with reduction in risk of recurrence.
Can endometriosis affect fertility?
Endometriosis can make it more difficult for you to get pregnant depending on the degree of involvement. Surgical treatment of endometriosis is associated with increase in the chances of spontaneous conception and also of IVF pregnancy-rates.
We offer an endometriosis package that covers the tests required to diagnose endometriosis and create a tailored treatment plan. Click here for more information.