They say women are blessed with the gift of childbearing. This also means having the burden of monthly periods and everything it entails. It requires doubling the hygiene rituals as disregarding those may cause complications. One of these complications can be endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a common issue for women over 30 who are of reproductive age but have never been pregnant. It is common to an estimated 89 million women but is most often shrugged off as the usual premenstrual syndrome. Though it appears to hit women over 30, it may also affect girls before they even start menstruating. It is said to be caused by excess amounts of estrogen in the body.
The endometrium is a lining of the uterus that separates the myometrium from the uterine cavity. During a woman’s menstrual cycle, the uterus sheds off the endometrial lining in the form of a thick, glandular, blood vessel-filled tissue in response to the body’s hormone production. Endometriosis may seem similar to a regular menstrual cycle in the sense that the endometrial lining is still sloughed off. However, not all of it is excreted. Instead, some of it gets misplaced and transported to other organs in the pelvic cavity. It may attach itself to the bowel, bladder, or small intestines among other organs, causing infection, scarring, and worse – infertility.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis include progressive dysmenorrhea; chronic lumbar, pelvic, and abdominal pain; dyspareunia (painful intercourse); dyschezia (painful bowel movement), or dysuria(painful urination); menorrhagia (heavy menstrual bleeding); nausea and vomiting, and pre or intermenstrual spotting.
During menstruation, women usually experience abdominal cramps and tenderness of the breasts. This is said to be due to the estrogen level that fluctuates during that time. However, for people with endometriosis, the pain gets worse over time. This symptom is usually neglected as women often think of it as part of their usual dysmenorrhea attacks. This may well be carried over to experiencing chronic pain, usually on the lower back, pelvic, and abdominal areas. A lot of women experience radiating pain during dysmenorrhea. The pain radiates from the abdomen to the lumbar area.
Women with endometriosis also experience dyspareunia or painful sexual intercourse. There might be an inflammation of the vaginal lining, causing pain upon contact or friction during intercourse.
Once the misplaced endometrial lining attaches itself to your bowel, kidney, or bladder, you may experience dyschezia or dysuria. Dyschezia is a condition wherein you experience discomfort while defecating. Dysuria is a condition characterized by painful urination. In both cases you may experience hematochezia or hematuria wherein blood is found in your feces and urine. Difficulty defecating and urinating may cause internal bleeding and, in turn, infection.
Menorrhagia or heavy menstrual bleeding is not something to shrug off. It may manifest itself as prolonged menstrual bleeding, heavy menstrual bleeding, or even both. Some women are used to their periods taking two to three weeks to finish, This symptom is tricky to detect as menstrual cycles differ for every woman. Nausea and vomiting, again a common occurrence during dysmenorrhea, are also symptoms of endometriosis. This can also be a sign that a misplaced endometrial lining had attached itself to your gastrointestinal organs. Premenstrual and inter-menstrual spotting can also be a symptom of endometriosis and is characterized by blood spots that appear before and in between menstrual cycles.
Endometriosis is a progressive condition that will, in the long run, affect a woman’s ability to create life. As prolonged, untreated endometriosis may cause the endometrial lining to attach itself inside the vagina and to other organs outside the pelvic region. Severe infection may form scar tissues that can block the fallopian tubes and hinder ovulation.
As of now, a sure-fire cure for endometriosis is still being tested. However, modern science has provided us with medications and procedures that may help delay the effects. Laser surgery can be made to remove endometrial fragments from where they have attached. Also, there are medications available that will stop the body from producing more estrogen to prevent endometrial fragments from growing. If you’re experiencing the symptoms listed in this article, it is best to visit your gynecologist and have yourself checked.