is the second most common gynaecological condition after fibroids,
affecting around 10% of the women between the ages of 25-40 in their
reproducing years. Nevertheless, the symptoms are often confused and
hence detection is often delayed.
is a condition in which endometrial (womb lining) cells are present in
an unusual site outside the womb cavity. The word "endometriosis" is
derived from the ancient Greek in which "end" means "inside", "metra"
means "womb" and "osis" means "disease", problem or abnormality.
tissues respond to a woman's hormonal cycle and so do the displaced
endometrial cells, which continue to show response to a woman's
hormones. They swell up and some will bleed into surrounding tissues
during menstruation each month. This bleeding into previously healthy
tissues triggers an enzymatic response and results in a build-up of
inflammation and scarring.
inflammation could indirectly lead to painful intercourse or even make
intercourse impossible. Scarring on the other hand could affect the
normal function of the bowel, bladder, ovaries and Fallopian tubes,
which can also affect fertility.
of Endometriosis ?
of endometriosis depend on the site of the displaced endometrial cells
rather than the extent of the disease itself. A minimal sign of the
disease could cause great pain and distress in some women and may have
no symptoms in women with extensive widespread disease.
classic symptoms associated with endometriosis are :
- Painful period ranging from
premenstrual discomfort to pain after one or two days after the start of
the bleeding. The pain could be felt on just one side or on both.
- Painful ovulation
- Swollen abdomen
- Loss of stale brown blood
- Pre-menstrual syndrome
- Heavy periods
- Deep pain during sex which may be
felt in certain or any sexual positions
accompany menstrual cycle could be suggestive of endometriosis, in which
case the doctor should be consulted.
doctor would probably conduct one of the following tests:
- An external abdominal examination for
tenderness and lumps.
- Assess your vagina, uterus and
ovaries through an internal examination
- Examine the rectum to feel the
uterosacral ligaments running from the uterus to the back of the pelvis
(sacrum) for tenderness and lumps behind the uterus.
Alternatively, there are some things which you can do to ease the
symptoms of endometriosis. Watch your diet, include plant products in
your diet, such as soya products (e.g. tofu), fiber-rich unrefined grain
products, nuts and seeds, beans, berries and dried fruits. Such plants
are believed to have a beneficial influence on human hormone status.
vegetables in yellow, orange, red and green that are rich in vitamin C,
E and beta-carotene should also be included in your diet to reduce cell
damage. A diet rich in vitamin C, E and betacarotene could help in the
prevention of cancers or benign tumors such as fibroids. Women suffering
from endometriosis may also suffer from pelvic congestion, especially
during the premenstrual phase of the monthly cycle. Pelvic exercise on
the other hand is believed to aid in reliving pelvic congestion to a
One of the
easiest pelvic exercises is to stop the flow of urine mid-stream each
time you visit the toilet. By doing so, you are toning up your pelvic
floor muscles and thus stimulating pelvic circulation and helping to
drain away excess fluids.
displaced cells involved in endometriosis are only slightly different
from normal endometrial cells and are non-cancerous, early treatment is
however advisable as the displaced cells may spread from one part of the
body to another, take root and continue to grow.
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