Q: Can you tell me about endometriosis?
A: In endometriosis, the tissues of the uterus (womb) are found outside of the uterus. They are then found in different areas of the body including:
- Fallopian tubes
- Tissue lining the pelvis
The ovaries and fallopian tubes are the more common areas for endometriosis. This tissues of the uterus found outside the womb continue to act like what they are: uterine tissues. And so they thicken, break down and bleed with every menstrual cycle. Trouble is, the broken down tissues and blood now, does not have an outlet to flow out from. So, if this happens in the ovaries, cysts form. Cysts are sac-like collection of fluids, semi-solid or gaseous materials.
The symptoms of endometriosis vary from person to person, ranging from no symptoms in some people to excruciating pelvic pain, usually associated with menstrual periods.
Symptoms, generally include:
- Painful periods
- Heavy periods
- Pain during or after sex
- Bleeding in between periods
- Lower abdominal, pelvic and/or lower back pain
Other symptoms include:
- Tiredness and fatigue
- Blood in stool
People with endometriosis may also present with infertility or ovarian cancer.
People at risk of endometriosis include:
- Those who start having their periods at an early age
- Those who start menopause at a late age
- Those who have never had children
- Those with family history of endometriosis
- Those who have low body mass index
- Those who consume alcohol
Once a diagnosis is made, treatment typically depends on severity of symptoms and whether woman still desires to have children.
Pain relief focuses on reducing the pain associated with this condition.
Hormonal therapy works on slowing down the growth of the endometrial tissue and prevent new implants. However, once therapy is stopped, symptoms could return.
Surgery which may be to remove endometrial tissues wherever they are found (through laparoscopic or open surgery) or removing the uterus, cervix and ovaries to ensure that the primary source of estrogen which stokes the thickening of endometrial tissue is eliminated. This latter surgery is better suited for women who have completed their families.
I hope this helps you understand some more what options are available to your mum. Please speak with her doctor for a clearer picture.
I hope this helps.
Have a good night y’all