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Everything you need to know about endometriosis: causes, symptoms and treatments

Endometriosis is a common but poorly understood condition affecting millions of women worldwide. It is a chronic disease defined by the growth, outside the uterus, of tissue similar to the uterine lining. This tissue can develop in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, bladder and other pelvic regions.


Find out more about this pathology, the main symptoms, common causes and the best natural treatments to relieve pain.


What is endometriosis?


Endometriosis is a chronic condition affecting 1 in 10 women of childbearing age. It is characterized by the presence of tissue similar to the uterine lining (endometrium) outside the uterus. This can lead to the formation of adhesions or scar tissue, which can cause pain or, in the most severe cases, infertility.


The symptoms that women with endometriosis may experience are most often as follows:


  • Pelvic pain

  • Heavy, painful periods

  • Intestinal pain

  • Urinary tract infections

  • Infertility


How is endometriosis diagnosed?

Endometriosis is often difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can be similar to those of other common pathologies, and there are no tests that can significantly detect it. However, there are several methods that can help diagnose endometriosis:


  • Pelvic examination: a pelvic examination is often the first step in diagnosis. During this examination, the doctor will be able to confirm the presence of an abnormality, such as a cyst or scar, which may have been caused by endometriosis.

  • Ultrasound: Ultrasound can detect the presence of cysts caused by endometriosis in the ovaries, or lesions in the uterus and other organs. This type of imaging uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of the inside of the body.

  • MRI: (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) Can be used to visualize the pelvis and identify abnormalities such as endometrial growths or adhesions.

  • Laparoscopy: This is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows the doctor to directly observe the pelvic organs. During the procedure, a thin tube fitted with a camera is inserted through a small incision in the abdomen. If endometriosis is suspected or detected, a biopsy can be taken to confirm it.


Causes and risk factors of Endometriosis


The exact causes of Endometriosis are not fully understood, but there are several factors that can increase the risk of developing this disease. One possible cause of Endometriosis is retrograde menstruation, where menstrual blood containing endometrial cells flows through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvis, instead of exiting through the vagina. The endometrial cells can then implant and develop outside the uterus.


Other factors can contribute to the development of Endometriosis, including genetics, hormonal imbalances, immune system disorders and environmental toxins. Some studies have suggested that women with a family history of Endometriosis are more likely to develop the disease themselves.


There are also several risk factors that can increase a woman's chances of developing Endometriosis. These include an early onset of menstruation, a short menstrual cycle, a low body mass index (BMI) and never having given birth.


How can Endometriosis be relieved?


Endometriosis cannot be completely cured, but there are many ways to manage symptoms and relieve pain. The treatment plan will depend on symptom severity, age, general health and personal preference.


  • Pain medication: Painkillers prescribed by a physician can help manage the pain associated with Endometriosis.

  • Hormone therapy: Hormonal treatments such as the contraceptive pill, the progestin-only pill or the hormonal IUD can help regulate the menstrual cycle and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue.

  • Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery can be used to remove endometrial tissue and scar tissue. In severe cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be recommended.

  • Electrostimulation: Studies have shown that electrostimulation is effective in reducing pain and inflammation in the pelvic region, which are common symptoms of Endometriosis.

  • Healthy lifestyle: Regular exercise, a healthy diet and stress management techniques such as meditation or yoga can also be beneficial to health and help manage Endometriosis symptoms.

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