Gynaecological issues can be an embarrassing topic to discuss, especially for young women. However, regular check-ups are imperative in order to catch any issues or abnormalities before they develop into larger problems. It is always essential to get the professional opinion of a doctor or gynaecologist rather than attempting to self-diagnose an issue, especially since many conditions display the same characteristics. Here, we will take a look at a condition called endometriosis, its symptoms and the methods of treatment.
Endometriosis is a condition which results from abnormal growth of the uterus lining, otherwise known as the endometrium. In some cases, this lining has been known to grow in places where it shouldn’t, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries and along the pelvis. As with the rest of the uterus lining, this breaks down with each menstrual cycle, although there is a key difference: it often has nowhere to go.
What Are the Symptoms?
Symptoms of endometriosis include chronic pelvic pain and cramping, or abnormally severe period pains. It can also lead to discomfort and pain when using the bathroom or during intercourse. Excessive bleeding can also be a sign of endometriosis as a result of the added uterus lining it creates. Many women discover that they have endometriosis when they experience fertility problems, as another key indicator is infertility.
How Is It Diagnosed?
If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms, then you should speak with your doctor immediately. Endometriosis may be detected during a pelvic exam, in which the doctor is able to feel for any abnormalities in the pelvis. Another way it can be discovered is through an ultrasound test, or through laparoscopy, where a doctor is able to look inside the abdomen for anything unusual.
How Can It Be Treated?
Depending on the severity and stage of the condition, endometriosis can either be treated with medication or surgery. Usually, pain relief medications will be advised to help to reduce the discomfort of cramping and combat inflammation. If this does not resolve the issue, then doctors will need to look for more endometriosis treatments, such as hormone therapy. This involves taking doses of supplemental hormones, which can be effective in pain reduction and also in slowing the growth of the uterus lining, thus preventing it from growing in abnormal places.
These can come in the form of hormonal contraceptives, which are effective at reducing the menstrual flow. Other options include Gn-Rh drugs, Danazol or Progestin therapy. However, hormone replacement surgery tends only to be effective for the duration that the medications are being taken. Once the patient discontinues taking the hormones, they are likely to see a return of the condition. For those who are attempting to get pregnant, surgery to remove endometriosis may be the only effective option. Failing this, assisted reproductive technologies may be employed to good effect. In very extreme cases, a hysterectomy may be advised, although this is considered to be a last resort.