Tap To Call : 843-572-1600

Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs when the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium, grows in other places, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvis. Women with endometriosis may experience infertility, pelvic pain, or both.

Every month a woman’s body goes through hormonal changes. Hormones are naturally released which cause the lining of the womb to increase in preparation for a fertilized egg. If pregnancy does not occur, this lining will break down and bleed – this is then released from the body as a period.

In endometriosis, cells like the ones in the lining of the womb grow elsewhere in the body. These cells react to the menstrual cycle each month and also bleed. However, there is no way for this blood to leave the body. This can cause inflammation, pain and the formation of scar tissue.

Areas of endometrial tissue often called implants, occur in the following places –

  • Peritoneum
  • Ovaries
  • Fallopian tubes
  • Outer surface of the uterus, bladder, ureters, intestines and rectum
  • Cul-de-sac (the space behind the uterus

About 5 million women in the United States have endometriosis, but the true number of cases may be much higher, because not all women with the condition have symptoms. Endometrosis occurs in about one in ten women of reproductive age. It is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s.

However, with the right endometriosis treatment, many of these issues can be addressed, and the symptoms of endometriosis made more manageable.

Causes

The actual cause of endometriosis is unknown. There are several theories about the cause of endometriosis, but none fully explains why endometriosis occurs. It is possible that a combination of the following factors could be causing endometriosis to develop in some women –

Retrograde menstruation – When women have periods, some of the endometrium (womb lining) flows backwards, out through the fallopian tubes and into the abdomen. This tissue then implants itself on organs in the pelvis and grows. It has been suggested that most women experience some form of retrograde menstruation, but their bodies are able to clear this tissue and it does not deposit on the organs. This theory does not explain why endometriosis has developed in some women after hysterectomy, or why, in rare cases, endometriosis has been discovered in some men when they have been exposed to oestrogen through drug treatments.

Lymphatic or circulatory spread – Endometriosis tissue particles are thought to somehow travel round the body through the lymphatic system or in the bloodstream. This could explain why it has been found in areas such as the eyes and brain.

Genetic Factors – Some research suggests that endometriosis can be passed down to new generations through the genes of family members. Some families may be more susceptible to endometriosis but the causes of this are unclear.

Immune dysfunction – It is thought that, for some women, their immune system is not able to fight off endometriosis. Many women with endometriosis appear to have reduced immunity to other conditions. It is not known whether this contributes to endometriosis or whether it is as a result of endometriosis.

Environmental causes – This theory suggests that certain toxins in our environment, such as dioxin, can affect the body, the immune system and reproductive system and cause endometriosis. Research studies have shown that when animals were exposed to high levels of dioxin they developed endometriosis. This theory has not yet been proven for humans.

Metaplasia – Metaplasia is the process where one type of cell changes or morphs into a different kind of cell. Metaplasia usually occurs in response to inflammation and enables cells to change to their surrounding circumstances to better adapt to their environment. In the case of endometriosis, metaplasia would explain how the endometriosis cells appear spontaneously inside the body – and how they appear in areas such as the lung and skin. It would also explain the appearance of endometriosis cells in women with no womb – or in men who have taken hormone treatments.

Risk Factors

Endometriosis can happen in any girl or woman who has menstrual periods, but it is more common in women in their 30s and 40s. The risk factors include –

  • Never had children
  • Menstrual periods that last more than seven days
  • Short menstrual cycles (27 days or fewer)
  • A family member (mother, aunt, sister) with endometriosis
  • A health problem that blocks the normal flow of menstrual blood from the body during periods

Symptoms

Symptoms of endometriosis can include:

  • Pain – This is the most common symptom. Women with endometriosis may have many different kinds of pain. These include:
  • Very painful menstrual cramps – The pain may get worse over time.
  • Chronic (long-term) pain in the lower back and pelvis
  • Pain during or after sex – This is usually described as a “deep” pain and is different from pain felt at the entrance to the vagina when penetration begins.
  • Intestinal pain
  • Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods – In rare cases, you may also find blood in your stool or urine.
  • Bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods – This can be caused by something other than endometriosis. If it happens often, you should see your doctor.
  • Infertility, or not being able to get pregnant.
  • Stomach (digestive) problems – These include diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

Complications

Infertility – The main complication of endometriosis is impaired fertility. Approximately one-third to one-half of women with endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant.

Ovarian cancer does occur at higher than expected rates in women with endometriosis. But the overall lifetime risk of ovarian cancer is low to begin with. Some studies suggest that endometriosis increases that risk, but it’s still relatively low.

Treatment

Pain Medication – Some over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen may lessen the discomfort for women when dealing with endometriosis. Prescription medication may be needed if the pain does not respond to over-the-counter drugs.

Hormonal Drug Therapy – Hormonal drugs are given to try to stop ovulation for as long as possible in order to keep the implants or lesions from being aggravated. These can include oral contraceptives, progesterone drugs, and GnRH agonists.

Surgery – Conservative surgery is used to diagnose, remove growths, relieve pain, and increase the chances of pregnancy. Conservative surgery is usually done through a laparoscopy or a laparotomy. In some cases, a more radical surgery such as a hysterectomy is recommended for treating endometriosis.

Birth Control Pills simulate a pregnancy state in the body. They reduce menstrual bleeding by thinning the endometrial lining, thereby shortening and lightening the period. These pills must be taken for a minimum of six months.

Danazol – This drug suppresses estrogen levels and increases the amount of testosterone circulation. This form of medical therapy stops patients from ovulating and menstruating. It also shrinks the uterine lining and prevents new tissue implants from forming. However, side effects may occur, such as –

  • Fluid retention
  • Acne
  • Hot flashes
  • Dry vaginal wall (atrophic vaginitis)
  • Increased hair growth

Alternative Treatment

Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish such as salmon, mackerel, sardines, and anchovies. They are also available in fish oil capsules, which may be the preferable form because good brands contain minimal amounts of PCBs and dioxins.

All of the B vitamins strengthen the liver, and directly assist the body in disposing of excess estrogen.

Licorice is one of the most commonly used herbs in China, and it is well known for its beneficial effect on the liver.

Dandelion strengthens the liver and kidneys.

Milk thistle is renowned for strengthening the liver.

Selenium has been historically given to cows by farmers to prevent endometriosis. Endometriosis hinders fertility, so farmers work hard to prevent a disease that results in fewer calves. The best single source of selenium is Brazil nuts, followed by tuna, cod, and meats. It can also be purchased in supplement form.

Vitamin E is known to ensure that animals have healthy uterine linings, and it has been used by farmers since the 1930’s. Vitamin E and selenium are believed to work together to prevent damage to cell membranes, and protect against oxidation. Do not take blood thinners like vitamin E during the menstrual period, because they will increase bleeding.

Chlorophyll – Due to the link between endometriosis and dioxins, it would be wise to supplement with chlorophyll. Chlorophyll can remove dioxins from the body, and it can be purchased as a liquid concentrate.

Folate or folic acid – Folate is necessary for the body to make heme (the iron-containing, non-protein part of hemoglobin) for the red blood cells. Too little folate can cause nutritional megoblastic anemia (large red blood cells that cannot transport oxygen well). It is known to help regulate and balance the hormones. Folic acid assists in the chelation of lead, and helps the body to properly utilize zinc. There is a strong connection between folate and the liver, because liver disease increases the loss of folate.

Radishes were used in Traditional Chinese Medicine to cure endometriosis, and to fix liver problems, including jaundice. It would be wise to include them in the diet.

Flaxseeds are high in lignans and fiber, which have been found to be beneficial for estrogen-related conditions.

Hydrotherapy – A contrast sitz bath is often recommended by alternative practitioners for endometriosis. It is a home remedy and has not been studied.

Acupuncture – The insertion of thin needles at various points in the skin is said to bring relief to women suffering from Endo pain, menstrual cramping, and post-operative pain as well.

Exercise is a demonstrated stress reliever, pain reducer, and depression fighter. It also provides obvious benefits such as weight control and improved cardiovascular health.

Biofeedback – This involves the altering of body processes such as heart rate, muscle activity, skin temperature, and brain wave activity. This is done through the use of electrodes attached to the skin which convert minute physiological, chemical or electrical changes into auditory or visual signals.

Chiropractic treatment – This differs from osteopathic treatment in that Chiropractors believe the disease can be relieved by correcting dislocations (subluxations) in the musculoskeletal system alone.

 

 

Reference –

http://www.livescience.com/34722-endometriosis-causes-symptoms-treatments.html

http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/271899-overview

https://www.endometriosis-uk.org/understanding-endometriosis

http://www.alternativesurgery.com/education/endometriosis/

http://www.endofound.org/endometriosis

http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/149109.php

http://patient.info/health/endometriosis-leaflet

https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/diseases_conditions/hic_Endometriosis

https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/endometriosis

http://endometriosis.org/

http://www.endometriosisassn.org/endo.html

http://www.healthline.com/health/endometriosis

https://healthunlocked.com/endometriosis-uk

https://www.womentowomen.com/sex-fertility/endometriosis-start-with-a-natural-approach/