Endometriosis is a medical condition that affects a woman's reproductive system. The uterus, also known as the womb, is an organ where the baby develops till birth. In this disorder, the endometrium, mucous membrane lining the uterus, grows outside the uterus. The most common sites where endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus are the bladder, ovaries, bowels, and at times, even behind the uterus. Endometrial growths have also been detected in the lungs and arms, although this is very rare. Women in their early thirties are commonly diagnosed with this gynaecological condition.
What are the causes of endometriosis?
What causes this female reproductive disorder is still not known. However, doctors have put forth some theories to explain the reasons behind the occurrence of this disorder.
- The immune system generally kills all the endometrial cells that are present outside the uterus. But, the immune system of endometriosis patients may be incapable of performing this task.
- Blood circulation may be responsible for moving of endometrial cells to other body parts.
The extremity of symptoms varies from person to person. In some cases, women do not experience any symptoms, even though they suffer from this disorder of the reproductive system. Some women feel pain that ranges from relatively mild to severe. Pain is especially severe during the menstrual cycle. Following are the symptoms of this medical condition:
- Pain in the abdomen and pelvic areas, and pelvic pain during urination and intercourse
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Impaired fertility - In most cases, women suffering from this condition have difficulty becoming pregnant
- Painful periods
- Pain during pelvic examination by a doctor
- Severe pain during bowel movement
- Blood in the stool or urine
- Diarrhoea or constipation
- Nausea or dizziness
- Vaginal bleeding after intercourse
- Occasional, heavy periods
- Inflamed abdomen
If the treatment for endometriosis is not given on time, symptoms will worsen and general health declines. There are cases in which endometrial growth has spread beyond pelvic region. Unfortunately, doctors are yet to find a medicine or therapy to cure this female reproductive disorder. However, there are medicines available which can effectively control the symptoms and reduce the pain.
- Drug treatment: Drug treatment is useful, if the symptoms are mild. Painkillers are commonly prescribed to reduce the pain. Women diagnosed with moderate endometriosis can get pregnant.
- Surgery: If the symptoms are severe, surgical procedures are used to remove the uterus or both the ovaries. Surgery is beneficial for those who have severe pain due to endometriosis.
- Hormonal Treatment: This involves taking hormonal medicines to ease symptoms and decrease discomfort. The aim is to reduce the size of endometrial growth. This can be achieved by taking oral contraceptives, androgens and progestins. Complementary therapies such as aromatherapy and acupuncture are also helpful to improve the condition of the patient.
- Pressure Points: Acupressure can help you in relieving pain. There are mainly two pressure points present in your body that can give you some comfort in this case. The first one is present about two inches above your ankle bone. The second point lies in the web of your palm, at the base where the thumb and index finger meet. Locate these points and apply pressure on them for about 10-15 seconds. It will definitely ease your condition.
- Workouts: Studies have shown that rigorous workouts reduce the levels of oestrogen, and hence provide relief from endometriosis pain. For obvious reasons, you would never like to exercise while suffering from this pain. However, if not rigorous, you can surely perform some moderate exercises on a regular basis to get the same result.
- Fish: A hormone called prostaglandin is one of the causative hormones of menstrual cramping. Usually, endometriosis pain gets out of the limits of tolerance during menstruation. Menstrual cramping only makes it worse. Low levels of prostaglandin can give you some relief. Fish such as mackerel, sardines and herrings have high amounts of omega-3 essential fatty acids, which are known to suppress the production of prostaglandins.
You should take care of your diet as well. A healthy diet
will boost your immune system. With strong immunity, your body will be able to restrict the growth of various complications including endometriosis. Hence, follow a balanced diet rich in vitamins and minerals to get pain relief. Home remedies such as heating pads and warm baths can also help to relieve pelvic pain.