The endometrium is the tissue that usually lines the inner wall of the uterus. Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which a tissue, similar to the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. The disorder usually involves the tissues lining your pelvis such as your ovaries, and fallopian tubes, among others. The endometrial tissue can extend beyond the pelvic organs, but this happens on very rare occasions.
The endometrial tissue acts as it normally would – thickening, breaking down and bleeding with each menstrual cycle but since it's outside the uterus, the blood becomes trapped, with no way to exit the body. The surrounding tissues can become irritated, forming adhesions and scar tissues in the process.
Endometriosis can cause fertility problems, and pain, especially during your periods. Fortunately, experts such as Dr. Daniel Roshan effectively treat the problem.
Pelvic pain is the primary symptom of endometriosis. It's often associated with periods, which many describe as far worse than cramping pain. The pain also increases with time and extends several days after the periods.
Other common symptoms of endometriosis include pain during sexual intercourse, pain with urination or bowel movements, you may experience excessive bleeding or bleeding between periods, infertility, and fatigue or nausea.
The severity of the pain you feel may not be a reliable indicator of the severity of the disorder. You may have advanced endometriosis with little or no pain, or you could have moderate endometriosis with severe pain.
The condition can also be mistaken for other disorders that cause pelvic pain, for instance, ovarian cysts, and pelvic inflammatory disease. Moreover, disorders such as irritable bowel syndrome can accompany endometriosis, making diagnosis much more difficult.
Although the exact causes of endometriosis are not known, experts suspect that the condition is caused by retrograde menstruation, peritoneal and embryonic cell transformation, surgical implantation, endometrial cell transport, and immune system disorder.
Retrograde menstruation is where menstrual blood, which contains endometrial cells, flows back into the fallopian tube, all the way to the pelvic cavity. These cells then stick to the surface of pelvic organs and the pelvic wall, growing and thickening over the course of each menstrual period.
Experts also propose that immune factors and hormones such as estrogen may promote the transformation of peritoneal cells (lining the inner side of the abdomen) or embryonic cells (early stages of development) into endometrial cells. Endometrial cells may also attach to a surgical incision during surgery.
There are many factors that can place you at risk of developing endometriosis. These factors include starting your periods at a very early age, never giving birth, going through menopause at an old age, having shorter menstrual cycles such as less than 27 days, or having heavier menstrual cycles that last longer than 7 days.
Other risk factors include having higher levels of estrogen in your body or experiencing a greater lifetime exposure to the estrogen your body produces, and having a low body mass index. If one or more of your close relatives have the disorder, for example, your aunt, mother or sister, you'll also be likely to develop the problem.
Reproductive tract abnormalities or any other medical conditions that prevent the normal passage of the blood out of the body during menstrual flow is also a risk factor.
Endometriosis usually develops long after the onset of your menstrual periods. The signs and symptoms of the condition may improve with pregnancy or completely end with menopause.