Home » What is Endometriosis, and What are its Effects?

What is Endometriosis, and What are its Effects?

Have you ever felt extreme pain during your menstrual period and wondered whether this is the same for other women? Do your menstrual cramps seem to be painful before and even several days after your menstrual cycle? This may be a sign of endometriosis in Boynton Beach. Continue reading below to find out more about endometriosis and who it affects.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a painful condition whereby tissue grows similar to that inside the lining of your uterus, on the outside of your uterus. Endometriosis typically affects the pelvic organs such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and tissues lining your pelvis.

The endometrial-like tissue thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with every menstrual cycle but has no way of exiting your body. If it involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may irritate surrounding tissue, thus developing adhesions and scar tissues that cause pelvic organs to stick to each other.

Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis

The most common symptom is painful cramps that are worse than normal cramps. However, other signs and symptoms may include:

  • Excessive bleeding
  • Painful periods that may begin before and last after your menstrual cycle
  • Urination and bowel movements are painful
  • Infertility
  • Intercourse is painful during and after sex
  • Diarrhea, nausea, bloating, fatigue, and constipation, especially during your menstrual cycle

The severity of your cramps is not a reliable indicator of the extent of endometriosis, as the pain varies at different stages of the condition.

Conditions that may be mistakenly diagnosed as endometriosis include:

  • Irritable Bowel Syndrome
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
  • Ovarian Cysts

Causes of Endometriosis

The exact cause of endometriosis is not exactly sure. Possible explanations may include:

  • Endometrial cell transport
  • Retrograde menstruation
  • Surgical scar implantation
  • Transformation of peritoneal cells
  • Immune system disorder
  • Embryonic cell transformation

Some factors increase the risk of contracting endometriosis and include:

  • Low body mass index
  • Never giving birth
  • Going through menopause at an older age
  • Heavy menstrual periods that last longer
  • Reproductive tract disorders
  • Higher levels of estrogen
  • Short menstrual cycles
  • Starting your periods at an early age

Diagnosis and Treatment

Pelvic exams are the go-to method by doctors for diagnosing endometriosis to find the location of the pain. Additional tests used to ascertain the exact condition affecting you include:

  • Magnetic resonance imaging
  • Ultrasounds
  • Laparoscopy

Treatment may involve either medication or surgery. Over-the-counter medications may be administered to alleviate the pain. Hormone therapy may also be given, and these involve:

  • Progestin therapy
  • Hormonal contraceptives
  • Aromatase inhibitors
  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists and antagonists

If the medications are not sufficient to deal with the condition, surgery is usually done. For a long time, surgery involved hysterectomy and removal of the ovaries, but this has been replaced through conservative surgery that involves removing the endometriosis implants while preserving the ovaries and uterus.

Endometriosis is a condition that may not be easily noticed by affected parties. It may disguise itself in the form of painful menstrual cramps. If you have any of the painful symptoms of endometriosis mentioned above, visit our website or call our offices in Boynton Beach for more information.