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Endometriosis

Tissue similar to the lining of the womb (endometrium) is found outside of the womb e.g. the ovaries, bladder, bowel.

Causes

The cause of endometriosis is currently unknown but it is likely that various factors are involved.

 

For example:

  • Genetics

  • Environment

  • Hormones

  • Immune system

Symptoms

Women with endometriosis may experience the following symptoms:

  • Painful periods

  • Pain in the lower back and pelvis

  • Pain during or after sex

  • Pain when urinating or opening your bowels

  • Difficulty getting pregnant

  • Digestive problems e.g. diarrhoea, constipation, bloating, nausea

  • Changes in menstruation e.g. 'spotting', heavy periods, irregular periods, prolonged periods

Diagnosis

Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms can vary and can be caused by other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS)

If you think you may have endometriosis you should see your doctor.

Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and perform an examination of your abdomen and vagina.

You may be given medication to improve your symptoms and if these do not help then you will be referred to a gynaecologist.

The gynaecologist will do an ultrasound scan.

Key hole surgery (laparoscopy) can also be used to examine the organs in the pelvis to look for endometriosis. 

Treatment

There is no definitive cure for endometriosis, however, the symptoms can be managed.

Surgery- laparoscopy, hysterectomy

Medication can be used e.g. anti-inflammatory pain medication, the intrauterine system (IUS), the contraceptive pill and contraceptive injection.

If the symptoms are very severe and medication has not worked then surgery to treat endometriosis.

Longterm health

Some women with endometriosis experience complications such as:

  • Infertility

  • Increased risk of ovarian cysts

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