Understanding Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the presence of endometrial tissue outside the uterine cavity. Endometriosis can be found almost everywhere in the body including the vagina, lungs, cervix, central nervous system and gastrointestinal tract. The most common location, however, is the pelvis.

The endometrial tissue responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle and bleeds in a cyclic fashion. Endometrial tissue finds their way out of the womb and acts like the tissues in the womb act outside the womb which means it follows the menstrual cycle pattern and bleeds. The bleeding results in inflammation, scarring of the perineum and formation of adhesions.

The condition is usually diagnosed when women seek evaluation for infertility.


What causes Endometriosis?

It can occur at any age after puberty. The cause is unknown, there are risk factors such as:

  • Never giving birth
  • Starting your period at an early age.
  • Going through menopause at an older age.
  • Short menstrual cycles- for instance, less than 27 days.
  •  Low body mass index.
  • Alcohol consumption.
  • One or more relatives with endometriosis.
  • Uterine abnormalities.
  • Any medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body.


What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Endometriosis can be asymptomatic. When it does manifest, some symptoms include:

  • Painful menstruation(dysmenorrhea)
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination.
  • Excessive bleeding
  • Bloating or nausea.
  • Infertility.
  • fatigue.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Constipation.

The signs and symptoms of endometriosis end temporarily with pregnancy and end permanently with menopause unless you are taking estrogen.


 Can Endometriosis be treated?

Endometriosis can be treated. Treatment Can be medical or surgical or a combination of the two. Some of the drugs used for treatment include:

Combined oral contraceptives: this can be used to suppress menstruation.

Progestin: this exerts a medroxyprogesterone acetate(MPA) and anti-endometriotic effect and ultimately atrophy of endometrial tissues.

Danazol: it suppresses gonadotrophin-releasing hormone (GnRH) and has high androgen and low estrogen effect that does not support the growth of endometrium hence, suppress ovulation and causes amenorrhea.


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Post compiled using:

olds maternal, newborn nursing and women’s health across the lifespan(2015)




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