Endometriosis is a condition and a common cause of infertility in which the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, is experiencing irregular growth. Typically, the lining, which should be grown inside the uterus, is growing outside on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or even on tissues lining your pelvis.While the lining may not be developing where it should be, it dutifully repeats its function: the lining will thicken, break down and shed every month during the menstrual cycle. As the menstrual “bleeding” is trapped inside the body, the adjacent tissues are affected, causing pain and forming cysts, scar tissues and even abnormal issues binding organs together.Is Endometriosis Common At All?You bet! There are approximately 5.5 million women and girls in North America suffering from varying degrees of Endometriosis, plus millions of women worldwide.Endometriosis CausesThe medical community has yet to find out the answers for this disease. However, there are several theories on the causes of Endometriosis:
Possibly because of problems in the hormonal balance or immune system, the lining tissue gradually back up in the fallopian tubes and begins to grow;
The lymph system or blood system is responsible for carrying these lining tissues to the adjacent organs;
An intriguing theory: the tissue is actually the remnants of tissue left in the woman’s body when she herself was an embryo, thus these tissue remains its embryonic properties;
Or, it is simply a disorder passed down by the genes.
Endometriosis SymptomsAs in other disorders, women suffering from Endometriosis may experience pain and other symptoms in varying degrees. Typical signs of Endometriosis include:
Painful Periods (Dysmenorrhea). Yes, many women suffer menstrual cramps during their period, and normally there is nothing to worry about. However, if you have pain even before or after your period, it may be a potential endometriosis symptom.
Pelvic Pain. If your pelvic area is constantly feeling painful and uncomfortable, especially at times other than your period (e.g. during intercourse, urination and bowel movement), it could also be a sign of Endometriosis.
Excessive Bleeding. Heavy period (Menorrhagia), or bleeding between periods (Menometrorrhagia) may also indicate Endometriosis.
Endometriosis In StagesThe medical community has classified Endometriosis in four stages based on the location, size and amount of the Endometrial implant:
Stage I – minimal
Stage II – mild
Stage III – moderate
Stage IV – severe
It is believed that women with Stage I and Stage II Endometriosis still have a good chance of getting pregnant after receiving treatment. Therefore, seeking medical advice promptly can be critical.What Is Your Next Step?As you can imagine, Endometriosis tends to worsen as time goes by, because the shed linings will accumulate and form irregular tissues all around the reproductive organs. If you have experienced symptoms mentioned above, it would be wise to go for a fertility checkup and get treatment without further delay.