What Is Endometriosis How To Diagnose Endometriosis

What Is Endometriosis? – How To Diagnose Endometriosis

By: - Disease & Illness - November 22, 2011
what is endometriosis how to diagnose endometriosis

You may have heard the word endometriosis thrown around when listening to women talk about health problems or you may have heard the word on television on one of the various health shows out there. It probably made you ask the question “What is endometriosis?” Endometriosis is a chronic disease that affects millions of women in the world. It is very painful and can be a lifelong problem.

If you want more details in order to answer the question “What is endometriosis?”, here it is. In the uterus, there is a type of tissue called the endometrium. When this tissue is found outside of the uterus, it will grow rapidly. Commonly the endometrium, when it is found outside of the uterus is commonly in the abdomen. It tends to grow around the fallopian tubes, on the ovaries and even on the outer side of the uterus and into the vagina. The endometrium growths can also occur in other areas of the body including the bladder, bowel and cervix. Less commonly it can even be found on the arms, legs and other outer extremities.

This endometrium tissue is considered to be misplaced as it is not where it is supposed to be contained in the uterus. The misplaced tissue will developed into growths on the areas listed above. What causes pain and discomfort isn’t so much the growths themselves, but the response they give. As mentioned above, these tissues come from the lining of the uterus. If you know anything about the menstrual cycle, this is the lining of the uterus that comes off when you have your menstrual period. The reason for the pain from the misplaced endometrium tissue is because it is acting as if it is still in the uterus and reacting to the menstrual cycle.

When you have your period, the tissue breaks off from the uterus and sheds through the vaginal canal. The endometrium tissue also sheds, but because it is inside of the body, the blood has nowhere to go. This causes internal bleeding, inflammation and the breakdown of blood and tissue causing possible pain, possible infertility and various other problems. Hopefully that has answered the question “What is endometriosis?”

There are various symptoms of endometriosis but many of them can also present as other diseases or conditions so it can make it difficult to diagnose endometriosis by simply looking at the symptoms. The symptoms of endometriosis include pain before and during your period, pain during sex, infertility, painful urination during periods, fatigue, painful bowel movements during your period and other gastrointestinal problems like diarrhea, nausea and constipation. Women who suffer from endometriosis may also have allergies, frequent yeast infections and become sensitive to certain chemicals.

Since many of the symptoms of endometriosis can mimic other conditions, it can be a problem for doctors to know how to diagnose endometriosis. In most cases, a doctor would not be comfortable using just the symptoms to diagnose this condition but they would want to use other methods when figuring out how to diagnose endometriosis. One of these methods is to use a laparoscopy. This is a minor surgical procedure that is done under anesthesia. The doctor will be able to see the size and location of the growth and it will be able to not only confirm the patient is suffering from endometriosis, but they will be able to make an adequate treatment plan. This is usually the number one way doctors use when determining how to diagnose endometriosis.

The cause of endometriosis is not known but there are many theories. One theory is called the retrograde menstruation theory and this is where doctors believe that some of the tissue from menstruation backs up into the fallopian tubes and implants some place in the body.  Other experts totally disagree with this and say that all women experience some kind of retrograde menstruation and all women do not have endometriosis. These experts say that there has to be something hormonal going on in order for the tissues to grow as they do.

Another theory on the cause of endometriosis is that the small pieces of endometrium tissue are spread through the body via the lymph system. There is also a genetic theory that says that some families are simply pre-disposed to having endometriosis. As of this writing, it is not known exactly what causes endometriosis.

There is no cure for endometriosis, but you can treat some of the symptoms of endometriosis. Pain medication is usually suggested for women who suffer from endometriosis. If needed, a prescription may be necessary. Hormone therapy is also a valid option for some women who suffer from endometriosis. Surgery is usually used in a last ditch effort, or if you are a woman of child bearing age who is suffering from infertility due to endometriosis. There are also several alternate treatment methods including homeopathy and traditional Chinese medicine.