Our experienced Naturopath and Acupuncturist, Genya Fleischer, has written a detailed article about endometriosis. In part 1, she explains what endometriosis is. In her next blog she will delve further into management of this condition.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of endometrial like tissue outside the uterus, mostly on pelvic structures and rarely on sites such as lungs, intestine and even eyelids. This misplaced uterine tissue responds to monthly hormonal cycles and creates havoc in many ways. Depending on where the uterine tissue is located, signs and symptoms can vary, but can include:
- Distressing pain: This can be pain immediately before and during period and/or during or after sex. Pain can be felt in the tummy, back, pelvis, with a bowel movement, passing wind or urine, or during ovulation.
- Heavy bleeding can occur with or without clots. Bleeding may be irregular, continue for a long time or just spotting before the period.
- Bladder and bowel problems may occur: constipation or diarrhoea, feeling the need to urinate more frequently at different times during period, and bloating.
- Back pain
- Painful sex
- Adhesions and scar tissues
If endometrial tissue invades the uterus it is called ADENOMYOSIS.
Studies indicate that endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women of reproductive age and up to 50% of infertile women suffer from endometriosis.
Some factors that may contribute to endometriosis may include hormonal imbalance, environmental factors, genetics, and immunologic deficiencies
There is no cure for endometriosis. Treatments are designed to relieve symptoms.
The following drugs can relieve the symptoms of endometriosis:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (such as ibuprofen)
- Oral contraceptives
- Hormone-suppressing drugs (which stop ovulation)
Laparoscopic laser techniques help shrink lesions and may improve fertility.