Affecting almost one in 10 girls and women through their lifetime, Endometriosis is a condition of the female reproductive system.
The uterus is normally lined with tissue called the endometrium, which is naturally shed each month during the menstrual cycle. Endometriosis occurs when tissue SIMILAR to the endometrium implants abnormally outside the uterus in the pelvic region OR in other locations of the body. They can occur as lesions, cysts, nodules or other growths.
The cause for endometriosis remains unknown. Some theories include genetic causes, the body’s inability to breakdown back-flow from menstruation, circulation of the endometriosis lesions through the body, or a combination of theories.
Symptoms commonly include pain, which can occur during menstruation or possibly during ovulation. The pain could manifest chronically in the pelvic region. There may also be diarrhea or constipation, nausea, vomiting, bladder pain, increased urination.
Diagnosis of endometriosis cannot definitively be done by a blood test or medical imaging. Sometimes, an ultrasound or MRI may show endometriosis. A procedure called a laparoscopy is necessary for an accurate diagnosis, which can also be used to treat lesions that are found. Excision surgery is usually the gold standard as treatment of endometriosis.
Medical treatment includes pain medication to treat symptomatic pain, such as Naproxen or Ibuprofen. Hormonal birth control pills can also be considered as primary treatment. For more information, visit endometriosisnetwork.com.
By Vishal Mehta, BPharm, RPh
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