Find out if you're at risk of Endometriosis from the experts at Mediclinic Welcare Hospital in Dubai
25 June 2019| Last updated on 30 June 2019
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue of the lining of the uterus (endometrium) is found elsewhere in the body, most commonly in the abdomen, near the ovaries, rectum, bladder and bowel.
In its new, abnormal location, this tissue behaves as the lining of the womb, bleeding every month, and can cause severe chronic pain.
An estimated 10% of all women during their reproductive years are affected by endometriosis, meaning that 176 million women around the world are dealing with the symptoms of endometriosis during the prime years of their lives.
What Causes Endometriosis?
There are different hypotheses as to what causes endometriosis. Unfortunately, these theories have not been entirely proven, nor do they fully explain all the mechanisms associated with the development of the disease.
It is widely agreed however, that endometriosis is exacerbated by oestrogen. Consequently, most of the current treatments for endometriosis attempt to regulate oestrogen production in a woman’s body to relieve symptoms. Some women with endometriosis appear to have immunologic defects or dysfunctions. Whether this is a cause or effect of endometriosis is unknown.
When you should suspect Endometriosis?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. Pain may be felt:
- Before/during/after menstruation
- During ovulation
- In the bowel during menstruation
- When passing urine
- During or after sexual intercourse
- In the lower back region radiating to limbs
The pain often correlates to the menstrual cycle, but a woman with endometriosis may also experience pain that doesn’t correlate to her cycle. For many women, the pain of endometriosis is so severe and debilitating that it impacts their lives in significant ways.
The other symptom associated with endometriosis is infertility. It is estimated that 30-40% of women with endometriosis are sub fertile. If you, or someone you care about, has endometriosis, it is important to educate yourself and take the time to find a good doctor.
What are the treatments for Endometriosis?
There is no definite cure for endometriosis. But there are treatments which can relieve symptoms, infertility and improve quality of life. The treatment will be decided by the doctor based on symptoms, how they affect daily life, and discussing whether the patient wants to have children now or in the future.
The various options available are:
- Pain medications
- Hormonal treatment
- Laparoscopic surgery
How does laparoscopic surgery for Endometriosis work?
Laparoscopic endometriosis excision surgery is the gold standard for diagnosing endometriosis, and is the most effective surgical means of treating endometriosis because it offers the longest symptomatic relief.
Laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis is a minimally invasive surgery where the abnormal tissue is completely excised without leaving any endometriosis behind, whether it is in advanced endometriosis with frozen pelvis or a small single lesion. Laparoscopic surgery can address the treatment for all symptoms of endometriosis, including dysmenorrhoea (painful periods), dyspareunia (painful sexual intercourse), dyschezia (painful bowel movements), and leg and back pain with menstruation.
Choosing an Endometriosis surgeon
Dozens of studies have found that the two main factors correlated with successful surgical outcomes are the skill and experience of the surgeon. It is for this reason that women with endometriosis are urged to seek care from an endometriosis specialist. Physicians who are familiar with their specialised work refer their patients to these experts for care, because they are more skilled in advanced laparoscopic surgery, assisted reproduction and pain management.
Authored by Dr. Alphy S. Puthiyidom
Specialist Obstetrics and Gynaecologist, Laparoscopic Surgeon
Mediclinic Welcare Hospital