Endometriosis symptoms affect about 7 million American women. While many women with endometriosis have no symptoms, it can cause inflammation, pain, scar tissue development and infertility.
Dr. Shabnam Dadgar is specially trained in laparoscopic surgery and endometriosis diagnosis and treatment. Below are some facts she believes every woman should know regarding endometriosis.
WHO IS AFFECTED BY ENDOMETRIOSIS?
Primarily affecting women in their reproductive years, most women diagnosed with endometriosis are between the ages of 25 and 35. Endometriosis is more common in Caucasian women than African Americans or Asians.
Some women have endometriosis without having endometriosis symptoms, while others have symptoms but with little endometriosis. And the good news is that something can usually done about it without drugs or surgery with a good chance of experiencing significant improvement.
While the causes of endometriosis symptoms are unknown, high estrogen levels in women appear to be a contributing factor. Endometriosis seems to be a disease of the industrialized countries. It often runs in families, and in many women, there is a correlation to immune dysfunction. Emotional issues are often involved as well in women with endometriosis. In all these causes, hormonal imbalance is a common theme among the various factors.
Endometriosis is defined as the abnormal growth of endometrial cells that become scattered in areas where they do not belong. Endometriosis islets can grow in the fallopian tubes, within uterine musculature or outer surface of the uterus, the ovaries, pelvic organs, colon, bladder, the sides of the pelvic cavity and even the lungs. With the onset of the menstrual period, the islets increase in size, swell with blood and bleed into the surrounding areas and tissues. The problem is that there is no place for the tissue and blood to go, and the result is inflammation and a great deal of pain. The occurance of endometriosis symptoms is on the increase, and there is much debate about why.
Pain – abdominal pain and cramping. And these endometriosis symptoms may be severe in a woman with mild endometriosis and may hardly occur in women with widespread endometriosis. The pain and cramping can be debilitating.2. Inflammation – during the early part of the menstrual cycle, the endometrial tissue becomes filled with blood. When menstruation occurs, this tissue also gives off blood, but it cannot go anywhere. This blood accumulation causes inflammation that in the abdominal and pelvic tissue becomes very painful.
Painful sexual intercourse – endometrial tissue creates pressure in the lower pelvis or prevents the free movement of the pelvic organs.
Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS) in the days before and during the menstrual period.
Rectal bleeding – also painful bowel movements can occur.
Chronic fatigue – pain, bleeding and cramping can be exhausting for the woman, making it difficult or impossible to function normally.
Infertility and miscarriage – the more widespread the endometriosis, the more likely the woman will have fertility and miscarriage problems.
The only definitive diagnosis is made during exploratory laparoscopic surgery. It is a minimally invasive procedure, usually performed under general anesthesia. Patients are normally discharged within 24 hours of surgery.
RECOGNIZED WORLD LEADER IN THE FIELD OF MINIMALLY INVASIVE GYNECOLOGY
Minimally invasive surgery (MIS) encompasses several techniques that allow surgeons to operate through small incisions or natural orifices. MIS includes laparoscopy, mini-laparoscopy, hysteroscopy, robot-assisted surgery, single port surgery and natural orifice techniques.