What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful gynaecological condition in which small pieces of the womb’s lining are found outside of the womb. They could be found in a variety of places including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, bowel, bladder or rectum. Endometriosis is an often unheard of disease – it is thought that over 80% of the population have never heard of it – however, it is an awful disease for those who suffer from it and can lead to infertility.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
The endometriosis symptoms vary from woman to woman with a small minority also having no symptoms at all. The most common endometriosis signs include:
• Pain during sexual intercourse
• Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back or pelvis
• Painful or heavy periods
• Bleeding between periods
• Fertility problems
Clearly endometriosis pain can be felt in numerous ways, which is why some women find this to be such a debilitating disease. In addition to the above, there are also a number of less common symptoms of endometriosis. These include:
• Coughing blood
• Bowel blockages
• Bleeding from the rectum
• Discomfort when urinating
These endometriosis symptoms are relative to the area of the endometriosis tissue. The pain that is felt will depend on the endometriosis stages. Stage one is the mildest form of the illness whilst stage four is the most severe.
If you experience any of the symptoms of endometriosis described above you are advised to speak to your family doctor. If he or she believes that you may be suffering from endometriosis pain he will refer you to a gynaecologist who will be able to diagnose you. To receive an endometriosis diagnosis your gynaecologist will perform a laparoscopy which will involve passing a small camera through your body and taking a tissue sample. Where the laparoscope will be inserted will depend on where you are feeling pain.
Endometriosis can be very difficult to treat and so the main endometriosis treatment options focus on helping women to cope with the symptoms. The main endometriosis treatment options include pain relief, surgery and hormone treatment and the type that is best will depend on the individual. In the worst cases a hysterectomy may be the only option.
Endometriosis and Pregnancy
Whilst endometriosis is often linked to infertility, suffering from the disease does not necessarily mean that you will be unable to have children. The chances of having a child depend on the endometriosis stages with people suffering from stage one endometriosis said to have the same amount of chance as people who don’t suffer from the disease, and people suffering from stage four having a lower chance. Doctors do however believe that those who fall into the last bracket can still have children, it just may take longer (up to two years) to conceive.