Many women have endometriosis and don’t even know it. The condition is diagnosed when cells from the inside lining of the uterus are found outside the uterus. It’s a common condition affecting approximately 1 in 10 women, but the majority of individuals aren’t diagnosed for up to 10 years and sometimes longer.
It requires the skills of a gynaecologist Melbourne to accurately diagnosis the condition, since symptoms can vary so widely among individuals. Some women have no symptoms at all, while others experience intense pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and fertility issues. Individuals that have a close relative that has the condition are 7-10 times more likely to develop it themselves. Pain can intensify during periods and may be present during sex.
Additional risk factors for developing endometriosis include late-age pregnancies, heavy periods, periods lasting more than five days, and shorter than usual menstrual cycles. For those who have no overt symptoms, the condition is often discovered incidentally as a result of another type of surgery or when they’ve been unable to conceive.
When endometrial tissue is displaced, it has no way to exit the body but continues to act in the same way it would in the uterus. It thickens and irritates surrounding tissue that can result in scarring and the formation of bands of tissue that can make organs and pelvic tissue adhere to each other. Endometriosis can result in ovarian cysts when the ovaries are involved.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition and a diagnosis is made by a gynaecologist using laparoscopy, a minimally invasive procedure that utilizes a miniaturized camera inserted into a very small incision. MRIs and ultrasounds aren’t effective for diagnosing the condition, since the tissue has no mass to be discerned from other tissue.
A variety of methods are available for addressing endometriosis and a gynaecologist is the best resource for exploring treatment options. Hormonal or non-hormonal medications may be used, but laparoscopy is typically recommended to remove the affected tissue. A hysterectomy may also be recommended when the affected area is extensive or causing severe pain.
Endometriosis can have no symptoms or a wide range of associated difficulties ranging from diarrhea, constipation, nausea and bloating, along with bleeding between periods and fatigue. The important thing to remember when diagnosed with endometriosis is that it’s a readily treatable condition and the result can dramatically improve quality of life.