Treatment

ENDOMETRIOSIS

Endometriosis symptoms

The symptoms of endometriosis vary. Some women experience mild symptoms, but others can have moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of your pain doesn’t indicate the degree or stage of the condition. You may have a mild form of the disease, yet suffer from agonizing pain. It’s also possible to have a severe form and have very little discomfort.

Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. You may also have the following symptoms:

  • painful periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
  • cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
  • heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • infertility
  • pain following sexual intercourse
  • discomfort with bowel movements
  • lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle

You may also have no symptoms. It’s important that you get yearly gynecological exams. This will allow your gynecologist to monitor any changes. This is particularly important if you have two or more symptoms.

 

Endometriosis treatment

Understandably, you want quick relief from pain and other symptoms of endometriosis. This condition can disrupt your life if it’s left untreated. Endometriosis has no cure. Medical and surgical options are available to help reduce your symptoms and manage any potential complications. Your doctor may first try conservative treatments. They may then recommend surgery if your condition doesn’t improve.

Everyone reacts differently to these treatment options. Your doctor will help you find the one that works best for you. Treatment options include:

Pain medications

Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen can be used, but these aren’t effective in all cases.

Hormonal therapy

Taking supplemental hormones can sometimes relieve pain. This therapy helps your body to regulate the monthly changes in hormones that promote the tissue growth that occurs when you have endometriosis.

Hormonal contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives decrease fertility by preventing the monthly growth and buildup of endometrial tissue. Birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings can reduce or even eliminate the pain in less severe endometriosis.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRNH) agonists and antagonists

Women take what are called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and antagonists to block the production of estrogens that stimulate the ovary. Estrogen is the hormone that’s mainly responsible for the development of female sexual characteristics. This prevents menstruation and creates an artificial menopause. The therapy has side effects like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Taking small doses of estrogen and progesterone at the same time can help to limit or prevent these symptoms.

Danazol

Danazol is another medication used to stop menstruation and reduce symptoms. However, it can have side effects including acne and hirsutism, which is abnormal hair growth on your face and body.

Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)

The medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera) injection is also effective in stopping menstruation. It stops the growth of endometrial implants. It relieves pain and other symptoms. However, it can also decrease bone production, cause weight gain, and lead to depression in some cases.

Conservative surgery

Conservative surgery is for women who want to get pregnant or suffer from severe pain. The goal of conservative surgery is to remove or destroy endometrial growths without damaging your reproductive organs.

This can be done through traditional open surgery, in which endometrial growths are removed through a wide incision.

Laparoscopy, a less invasive surgery, is another option. Your surgeon will make some small incisions in your abdomen to remove the growths in this type of surgery.

Radical surgery (hysterectomy)

Your doctor may recommend a total hysterectomy as a last resort if your condition doesn’t improve with other treatments. During a total hysterectomy, your surgeon will remove your uterus and cervix. Your doctor will also remove your ovaries because they make estrogen and estrogen causes the growth of endometrial tissue.

You’ll be unable to get pregnant after a hysterectomy. Get a second opinion before agreeing to surgery if you’re thinking about starting a family.

What causes endometriosis?

During a regular menstrual cycle, your body sheds the lining of your uterus. This allows menstrual blood to flow from your uterus through the small opening in the cervix and out through your vagina.

Endometriosis often occurs due to a process called retrograde menstruation. This happens when menstrual blood flows back through your fallopian tubes into your pelvic cavity instead of leaving your body.

The displaced endometrial cells then stick to your pelvic walls and the surfaces of your pelvic organs, such as your bladder, ovaries, and rectum. They continue to grow, thicken, and bleed over the course of your menstrual cycle. It’s also possible for the menstrual blood to leak into the pelvic cavity through a surgical scar, such as after a cesarean delivery.

Doctors believe the condition may also occur if small areas of your abdomen convert into endometrial tissue. This may happen because cells in your abdomen grow from embryonic cells, which can change shape and act like endometrial cells. It’s not known why this occurs.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterine cavity. The lining of your uterus is called the endometrium.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium grows on your ovaries, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis. It’s unusual for endometrial tissue to spread beyond your pelvic region, but it’s not impossible. Endometrial tissue growing outside of your uterus is known as an endometrial implant.

The hormonal changes of your menstrual cycle affect the misplaced endometrial tissue. This means the tissue will grow, thicken, and break down. Over time, the tissue that has broken down has nowhere to go and becomes trapped in your pelvis.

This tissue trapped in your pelvis can cause:

  • irritation
  • scar formation
  • adhesions, in which tissue binds your pelvic organs together
  • severe pain during your periods
  • fertility problems

Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition. You’re not alone if you suffer from this disorder.

 

Endometriosis stages

Endometriosis has four stages or types. It can be any of the following:

  • minimal
  • mild
  • moderate
  • severe

Different factors determine the stage of the disorder. These factors can include the:

  • location
  • number
  • size
  • depth of the endometrial implants

Stage I: Minimal

In minimal endometriosis, there are small lesions, or wounds, and shallow endometrial implants on your ovary. There may also be inflammation in or around your pelvic cavity.

Stage 2: Mild

Mild endometriosis involves light lesions and shallow implants on an ovary and the pelvic lining.

Stage 3: Moderate

Moderate endometriosis involves deep implants on your ovary and pelvic lining. There can also be more lesions.

Stage 4: Severe

The most severe stage of endometriosis involves deep implants on your pelvic lining and ovaries. There may also be lesions on your fallopian tubes and bowels.

 

Diagnosis

The symptoms of endometriosis can be similar to the symptoms of other conditions, such as ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease. Treating your pain requires an accurate diagnosis.

Your doctor will perform one or more of the following tests:

Detailed history

Your doctor will note your symptoms and personal or family history of endometriosis. A general health assessment may also be performed to determine if there are any other signs of a long-term disorder.

Physical exam

During a pelvic exam, your doctor will manually feel your abdomen for cysts or scars behind the uterus.

Ultrasound

Your doctor may use a transvaginal ultrasound or an abdominal ultrasound. In a transvaginal ultrasound, a transducer is inserted into your vagina. Both types of ultrasound provide images of your reproductive organs. They can help your doctor identify cysts associated with endometriosis, but they aren’t effective in ruling out the disease.

Laparoscopy

The only certain method for identifying endometriosis is by viewing it directly. This is done by a minor surgical procedure known as a laparoscopy.

 

Endometriosis complications

Having issues with fertility is the most serious complication. Women with milder forms of endometriosis may be able to conceive and carry a baby to term. According to the Mayo Clinic, about one-third to one-half of women with endometriosis have trouble getting pregnant.

Medications don’t improve fertility. Some women have been able to conceive after having endometrial tissue surgically removed. If this doesn’t work in your case, you may want to consider fertility treatments or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help improve your chances of having a baby.

You may want to consider having children sooner rather than later if you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis and you want children. Your symptoms may worsen over time. This can make it difficult to conceive on your own. Talk to your doctor to help understand your options.

 

Risk factors

About 2 to 10 percent of childbearing women suffer from endometriosis. It usually develops years after the start of your menstrual cycle. This condition can be painful, but understanding the risk factors can help you determine whether you’re susceptible to this condition and when you should talk to your doctor.

Age

Women of all ages are at risk for endometriosis. It usually affects women age 25 to 40.

Family history

Talk to your doctor if you have a family member who has endometriosis. You may have a higher risk of developing the disease.

Pregnancy history

Pregnancy seems to protect women against endometriosis. Women who haven’t had children run a greater risk of developing the disorder. However, endometriosis can still occur in women who’ve had children.

Menstrual history

Talk to your doctor if you have problems regarding your menses. These issues can include shorter cycles, heavier and longer periods, or you began menstruating at a young age. These factors may place you at higher risk.

 

Endometriosis prognosis (outlook)

Endometriosis is a chronic condition with no cure. But this doesn’t mean the condition has to impact your daily life. There are effective treatments to manage pain and fertility issues, such as medications, hormone therapy, or surgery. The symptoms of endometriosis usually improve after menopause.

 

What are the symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis symptoms

The symptoms of endometriosis vary. Some women experience mild symptoms, but others can have moderate to severe symptoms. The severity of your pain doesn’t indicate the degree or stage of the condition. You may have a mild form of the disease, yet suffer from agonizing pain. It’s also possible to have a severe form and have very little discomfort.

Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. You may also have the following symptoms:

  • painful periods
  • pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
  • cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
  • heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
  • infertility
  • pain following sexual intercourse
  • discomfort with bowel movements
  • lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle

You may also have no symptoms. It’s important that you get yearly gynecological exams. This will allow your gynecologist to monitor any changes. This is particularly important if you have two or more symptoms.

Part 2 of 9

Endometriosis treatment

Understandably, you want quick relief from pain and other symptoms of endometriosis. This condition can disrupt your life if it’s left untreated. Endometriosis has no cure. Medical and surgical options are available to help reduce your symptoms and manage any potential complications. Your doctor may first try conservative treatments. They may then recommend surgery if your condition doesn’t improve.

Everyone reacts differently to these treatment options. Your doctor will help you find the one that works best for you. Treatment options include:

Pain medications

Over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen can be used, but these aren’t effective in all cases.

Hormonal therapy

Taking supplemental hormones can sometimes relieve pain. This therapy helps your body to regulate the monthly changes in hormones that promote the tissue growth that occurs when you have endometriosis.

Hormonal contraceptives

Hormonal contraceptives decrease fertility by preventing the monthly growth and buildup of endometrial tissue. Birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings can reduce or even eliminate the pain in less severe endometriosis.

Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GRNH) agonists and antagonists

Women take what are called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists and antagonists to block the production of estrogens that stimulate the ovary. Estrogen is the hormone that’s mainly responsible for the development of female sexual characteristics. This prevents menstruation and creates an artificial menopause. The therapy has side effects like vaginal dryness and hot flashes. Taking small doses of estrogen and progesterone at the same time can help to limit or prevent these symptoms.

Danazol

Danazol is another medication used to stop menstruation and reduce symptoms. However, it can have side effects including acne and hirsutism, which is abnormal hair growth on your face and body.

Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera)

The medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera) injection is also effective in stopping menstruation. It stops the growth of endometrial implants. It relieves pain and other symptoms. However, it can also decrease bone production, cause weight gain, and lead to depression in some cases.

Conservative surgery

Conservative surgery is for women who want to get pregnant or suffer from severe pain. The goal of conservative surgery is to remove or destroy endometrial growths without damaging your reproductive organs.

This can be done through traditional open surgery, in which endometrial growths are removed through a wide incision.

Laparoscopy, a less invasive surgery, is another option. Your surgeon will make some small incisions in your abdomen to remove the growths in this type of surgery.

Radical surgery (hysterectomy)

Your doctor may recommend a total hysterectomy as a last resort if your condition doesn’t improve with other treatments. During a total hysterectomy, your surgeon will remove your uterus and cervix. Your doctor will also remove your ovaries because they make estrogen and estrogen causes the growth of endometrial tissue.

You’ll be unable to get pregnant after a hysterectomy. Get a second opinion before agreeing to surgery if you’re thinking about starting a family.

Part 3 of 9

What causes endometriosis?

During a regular menstrual cycle, your body sheds the lining of your uterus. This allows menstrual blood to flow from your uterus through the small opening in the cervix and out through your vagina.

Endometriosis often occurs due to a process called retrograde menstruation. This happens when menstrual blood flows back through your fallopian tubes into your pelvic cavity instead of leaving your body.

The displaced endometrial cells then stick to your pelvic walls and the surfaces of your pelvic organs, such as your bladder, ovaries, and rectum. They continue to grow, thicken, and bleed over the course of your menstrual cycle. It’s also possible for the menstrual blood to leak into the pelvic cavity through a surgical scar, such as after a cesarean delivery.

Doctors believe the condition may also occur if small areas of your abdomen convert into endometrial tissue. This may happen because cells in your abdomen grow from embryonic cells, which can change shape and act like endometrial cells. It’s not known why this occurs.

Part 4 of 9

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that forms the lining of your uterus grows outside of your uterine cavity. The lining of your uterus is called the endometrium.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium grows on your ovaries, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis. It’s unusual for endometrial tissue to spread beyond your pelvic region, but it’s not impossible. Endometrial tissue growing outside of your uterus is known as an endometrial implant.

The hormonal changes of your menstrual cycle affect the misplaced endometrial tissue. This means the tissue will grow, thicken, and break down. Over time, the tissue that has broken down has nowhere to go and becomes trapped in your pelvis.

This tissue trapped in your pelvis can cause:

  • irritation
  • scar formation
  • adhesions, in which tissue binds your pelvic organs together
  • severe pain during your periods
  • fertility problems

Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition. You’re not alone if you suffer from this disorder.

Part 5 of 9

Endometriosis stages

Endometriosis has four stages or types. It can be any of the following:

  • minimal
  • mild
  • moderate
  • severe

Different factors determine the stage of the disorder. These factors can include the:

  • location
  • number
  • size
  • depth of the endometrial implants

Stage I: Minimal

In minimal endometriosis, there are small lesions, or wounds, and shallow endometrial implants on your ovary. There may also be inflammation in or around your pelvic cavity.

Stage 2: Mild

Mild endometriosis involves light lesions and shallow implants on an ovary and the pelvic lining.

Stage 3: Moderate

Moderate endometriosis involves deep implants on your ovary and pelvic lining. There can also be more lesions.

Stage 4: Severe

The most severe stage of endometriosis involves deep implants on your pelvic lining and ovaries. There may also be lesions on your fallopian tubes and bowels.

Part 6 of 9

Diagnosis

The symptoms of endometriosis can be similar to the symptoms of other conditions, such as ovarian cysts and pelvic inflammatory disease. Treating your pain requires an accurate diagnosis.

Your doctor will perform one or more of the following tests:

Detailed history

Your doctor will note your symptoms and personal or family history of endometriosis. A general health assessment may also be performed to determine if there are any other signs of a long-term disorder.

Physical exam

During a pelvic exam, your doctor will manually feel your abdomen for cysts or scars behind the uterus.

Ultrasound

Your doctor may use a transvaginal ultrasound or an abdominal ultrasound. In a transvaginal ultrasound, a transducer is inserted into your vagina. Both types of ultrasound provide images of your reproductive organs. They can help your doctor identify cysts associated with endometriosis, but they aren’t effective in ruling out the disease.

Laparoscopy

The only certain method for identifying endometriosis is by viewing it directly. This is done by a minor surgical procedure known as a laparoscopy.

Part 7 of 9

Endometriosis complications

Having issues with fertility is the most serious complication. Women with milder forms of endometriosis may be able to conceive and carry a baby to term. According to the Mayo Clinic, about one-third to one-half of women with endometriosis have trouble getting pregnant.

Medications don’t improve fertility. Some women have been able to conceive after having endometrial tissue surgically removed. If this doesn’t work in your case, you may want to consider fertility treatments or in vitro fertilization (IVF) to help improve your chances of having a baby.

You may want to consider having children sooner rather than later if you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis and you want children. Your symptoms may worsen over time. This can make it difficult to conceive on your own. Talk to your doctor to help understand your options.

Part 8 of 9

Risk factors

About 2 to 10 percent of childbearing women suffer from endometriosis. It usually develops years after the start of your menstrual cycle. This condition can be painful, but understanding the risk factors can help you determine whether you’re susceptible to this condition and when you should talk to your doctor.

Age

Women of all ages are at risk for endometriosis. It usually affects women age 25 to 40.

Family history

Talk to your doctor if you have a family member who has endometriosis. You may have a higher risk of developing the disease.

Pregnancy history

Pregnancy seems to protect women against endometriosis. Women who haven’t had children run a greater risk of developing the disorder. However, endometriosis can still occur in women who’ve had children.

Menstrual history

Talk to your doctor if you have problems regarding your menses. These issues can include shorter cycles, heavier and longer periods, or you began menstruating at a young age. These factors may place you at higher risk.

Part 9 of 9

Endometriosis prognosis (outlook)

Endometriosis is a chronic condition with no cure. But this doesn’t mean the condition has to impact your daily life. There are effective treatments to manage pain and fertility issues, such as medications, hormone therapy, or surgery. The symptoms of endometriosis usually improve after menopause.

 

Ovarian Cyst Symptoms, Causes And Cures

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There is little doubt that most women would rather do anything other than talk about ovarian cysts. Sadly, they are a fact of life many of us will have to contend with at one point or another. Understanding what they are, how they form and even the ins and outs of treatment can help put minds at ease. While some cysts are really nothing to write home about, others are cause for concern. Having the ability to recognize symptoms of ovarian cysts can save a lot of trouble down the road. Even though most of us would rather discuss politics, religion or anything other than ovarian cysts, let’s talk about them anyway. Having a handle on ovarian cysts might just save your life.

What Are Ovarian Cysts?

Ovarian cysts are not pretty, but most of them, fortunately are no big deal. They are technically nothing more than fluid-filled pockets or sacks that show up on or in the surface of an ovary. Ovaries are located on each side of the uterus and one releases an egg every month. Most cysts are benign and are not worth worrying about. In fact, most women have a few cysts develop over the course of their lives. They tend to appear, present no symptoms and then disappear all on their own. You might even have one now and not even know it!

There are some cases when ovarian cysts can cause problems though. For example, when a cyst develops and then ruptures, pain, discomfort and even infection can result. A cyst that is twisted can rupture or cause bleeding which can be dangerous. These types of complications are accompanied by severe pain and should be seen by a physician immediately.

Types of Ovarian Cysts

Not all ovarian cysts are alike. There are several different kinds classified by medical professionals. These classifications begin with simple cysts, which are filled with fluid and generally harmless, complex cysts, which are partially solid and partially fluid filled, and completely solid cysts, which contain no obvious fluid. The most common forms of ovarian cysts include the following:

*Functional Cysts. A functional cyst appears during the normal monthly development and deployment of an egg. The egg itself tends to mature within its own fluid-filled sac within an ovary. Should that egg not release properly, or if the sac fills with fluid after the release, a functional cyst can appear. This type of cyst tends to come with no symptoms or pain. They are also prone to go away on their own in a matter of weeks. Drugs that are used to increase fertility can increase the likelihood of these types of cysts. In very rare cases, they will cause some pain, and sometimes – very rarely – they are cancerous.

*Hemorrhagic Cysts. These ovarian cysts happen if there is a tear in the ovary. The egg sac or surrounding tissues can fill with blood, creating this condition. These also tend to go away on their own without intervention.

*Dermoid Cysts. These cysts come from the egg cells within the ovaries themselves. These cysts can include bone, skin and hair cell tissue because of their nature. They tend to cause more noticeable symptoms, but only rarely do they prove cancerous.

*Cystadenoma. This cyst forms within the outer lining of the ovary. This kind of cyst has a one in eight chance of being cancerous, according to Women’s College Hospital in Canada, but most are not malignant before menopause.

*Endometriomas. These cysts form from the cells that line the uterus itself. They can be rather painful in some cases.

*Polycystic-appearing ovaries. These are ovaries that are twice as large as normal ovaries, and appear on an ultrasound with small cysts clustered around the outside. This can also be a symptom of polycystic ovary syndrome, which is extremely common and thought to be found in four to seven percent of women of childbearing age. This syndrome is associated with infertility and pregnancy problems, as well as other metabolic abnormalities.

Symptoms of Ovarian Cysts

While most ovarian cysts do not have any symptoms at all, some do. There are some signs women can look out for that can help signal a need for a pelvic exam. They include:

*When periods are irregular on a persistent basis, they could signal a number of problems, including ovarian cysts. This can also include painful periods and spotting or breakthrough bleeding at other times of the month.

*Pelvic pain can occur on an intermittent basis, such as during intercourse, or before and right after menstruation. Most women with ovarian cysts report this as their main symptom.

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