Endometriosis diagnosis and treatment
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that causes tissues of the endometrium (uterine lining) to grow outside of the uterus. The endometrium is the inner mucosal lining of the uterus. It has two layers. The stratum functionale contains the excretory glands and is shed as menses during menstruation and is then built-up again by stimulation of the ovaries releasing hormones. The deeper layer that resides next to the myometrium is vascular (vessels that carry fluids) and serves to regenerate the stratum functionale after each menstruation ends.
Endometriosis may attach to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel, bladder, ligaments or other areas in the abdominal cavity. Rarely the endometrial cells will attach to other areas in the body including the lungs and nasal cavity. If adhesions develop, this may cause internal organs to become stuck to other internal parts of the body and may even cause displacement of organs and other tissues.
Some of the symptoms are:
Heavy menstruation with pain, large clots, long or abnormal length of cycles
Lower abdominal pain, back pain, burning pain over the site
Frequent or constant pain all month long
Painful sexual intercourse
Pain during bowel movement or urination
Dysmenorrhea (Severe pain during menses)
In rare cases some women may experience bleeding after intercourse, bowel movements, or urination
Endometriosis can have a huge impact on fertility, being blamed for 35-50% of fertility issues in women. This is two to three times the rate of infertility in the general population.
How Does Endometriosis Affect Fertility?
Endometriosis is an estrogen dominant condition. When there is too much estrogen in the system, it causes hormonal imbalance. Proper hormonal balance is essential for healthy fertility.
Endometriosis also creates a situation of “congestion” where there are excess tissues growing in the uterus (as well as other areas of the body) which may make it harder for an embryo to attach properly for implantation.
Every month the excess tissues bleed which cause inflammation to occur and scar tissue to begin adhering to the uterus, fallopian tubes, the ovaries, and other organs. Amongst holistic healthcare practitioners, internal damage from endometriosis is known and referred to as chronic pelvic “congestion”. If endometrial cells attach to the ovaries or fallopian tubes this may alter normal ovulatory function or cause the fallopian tubes to become blocked.
As if that was not enough some researchers suggest that the woman’s body may form antibodies against the misplaced endometrial tissue. The same antibodies may attack the uterine lining and cause miscarriages (up to three times the normal rate).