Dr. Kumkum Modwel recommends:
Endometriosis is a disease affecting many women around the world. Since it involves a very private matter in a woman’s life (her menstrual cycle), this condition may not be talked about like it should. Unfortunately, when it’s not discussed openly or in public forums, women can’t get the information they need to identify endometriosis and seek proper treatment.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis describes a disease in which the tissue that normally grows inside your uterus, or womb, grows on the outside. This lining of the uterus is known as the endometrium. The endometrial tissue may grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes and other pelvic organs.
In a typical menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue grows inside the uterus, breaks down and then sheds during your period. However, when this tissue grows on other pelvic organs (as it does with endometriosis), there is no proper way for it to break down and be discarded. As a result, the abnormal tissue becomes trapped in the body, creating scar tissue and causing severe pain in addition to that typically associated with menstruation. Patients typically describe the pain from this disease as having hundreds of excruciatingly painful blisters covering the inside of the pelvis.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Experts believe about 11 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer from endometriosis. However, that number may not reflect all cases – if you don’t experience the common signs and symptoms, you may not know you have the condition.
Signs and symptoms of endometriosis generally include:
- Painful cramps during menstruation
- Pain in the lower abdomen, lower back or pelvic region
- Heavy periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during bowel movements or while urinating
- Bleeding between periods
- Nausea or vomiting
- Severe fatigue
- Gastrointestinal issues, such as bloody stool, bloating, constipation or diarrhea
Many women with endometriosis may go undiagnosed for years before learning of their condition only when they experience difficulty getting pregnant.
How is endometriosis treated?
There is no cure of endometriosis. Treatments for endometriosis are usually directed at alleviating pain and improving a woman’s chances of getting pregnant. For pain, your primary care physician may suggest medications like NSAIDs or stronger narcotics to reduce pain, as well as hormonal treatments like birth control pills to counteract heavy periods. Additionally, following an anti-inflammatory diet is often recommended for patients suffering from endometriosis, as this has reportedly been beneficial in decreasing pain symptoms associated with this disease. Successful reduction of pain has also been reported by patients who take daily dietary supplements such as Curcumin, Omega-3 fatty acids, and CBD oil, all of which help to fight inflammation.
If your endometriosis is resistant to other treatment efforts (or if you are trying to get pregnant with little success), your doctor may recommend surgical treatments. Laparoscopy is one type of surgical treatment that involves removing or destroying the endometrial lesions through a small cut in the abdomen. In addition to getting laparoscopy, women trying to conceive may also undergo in-vitro fertilization (IVF).