Endometriosis is a disease that affects reproductive organs of a woman. It occurs when the lining cells (known as endometrium) of the uterus start growing outside of it. Endometriosis is a chronic condition. About 10% of women worldwide, who are 15-50 y.o. are affected.
What are the causes of endometriosis?
Although the factors that provoke endometriosis can differ from person to person, there are some common causes of disease:
- Family history
Women, who have a close relative with endometriosis, are 7-10 times more likely to get the disease. The same situation is with twins, who both may have endometriosis, especially if they are identical twins.
- Retrograde menstruation
During the period, the blood follows out of vagina and also backwards along the fallopian tubes into the pelvis. While in 90% of women the blood with endometrial tissue is absorbed or gets down without causing any symptoms, in women with endometriosis, the endometrial tissue starts to grow.
Other possible causes of endometriosis may include:
- Early pregnancy
- First period before being 11 years old
- Heavy bleeding during periods/periods that last longer than 5 days
- Delay in childbirth
- Changes in the immune cells
- Low body weight
- Alcohol use
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Pain may occur before and during your period, during or after sexual contact, when going to the toilet or passing wind.
This can be heavy bleeding during your period, irregular bleeding with or without a regular cycle, bleeding before your period is due, bleeding longer than normal.
Your vagina muscles spasm and close tightly in response to an attempt of insertion (for example with a penis or tampon). This can be slightly uncomfortable or cause tearing pain.
- Bowel and bladder problems
These may include changes in your bowel’s habit (diarrhea, constipation), bleeding from your bowel or bladder, the need to urinate more frequently.
During your period, the abdominal area is increased (with or without pain).
- Mood changes
You may feel anxiety and/or depression provoked by the ongoing pain
Lack of energy and tiredness (especially during your period)
- Decreased quality of life
You have to take days off at work or school because you just can’t function normally.