Endometriosis is a condition manifesting through an abnormal growth of endometrial cells. These are commonly located inside the uterus, getting expelled during menstrual cycles. However, in case of endometriosis, these cells are found outside the uterus, connecting to other types of tissues such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the surface lining of the pelvic cavity. Additionally, these can be found on the cervix, vagina and bladder, including several other places in the body. These abnormal growths are called endometriosis implants. Sometimes, these implants may trigger health problems, even though they are generally considered to be benign and not to lead to cancer.
Facts about Endometriosis
This health condition mainly affects women who are in their fertile years. Commonly, endometriosis is asymptomatic. Thus, the statistical information on the presence of this disease is fairly inaccurate. Nevertheless, about one million women are diagnosed with this condition in the US, making it one of the major reasons behind pelvic pain. Endometriosis appears in women who are treated for infertility in about 50% of cases, while up to 80% of women suffering from pelvic pain may be in this situation due to the same health problem.
Usually, patients who are undergoing endometriosis treatment are between 25 and 35 years old. However, this condition was also found in patients who were 11 years old. So, it rarely affects women who are in their post-menopausal years. Additionally, endometriosis is more commonly seen in white, tall and skinny women. Females who get pregnant in their older years are at risk of suffering from endometriosis too.
Reasons behind Endometriosis
Basically, medicine is yet to reveal the true reasons behind this condition. Regardless, it is thought that endometriosis is connected to deposits of endometrial tissue created in the pelvic and abdominal areas during menstrual periods. However, this cannot be the sole reason behind endometriosis since many women experience pelvic pain and other problems without the presence of these abnormal growths.
Alternatively, this condition is thought to be connected to areas which are lining the pelvic organs. Namely, these are thought to produce primitive cells capable of transforming into endometrial cells. Also, after surgeries, endometrial cells may end up in the blood stream, reaching other organs, binding with their tissue. Normally, the human body can destroy the abnormal cells when they appear. However, sometimes, when one's immune system is not working correctly endometrial tissue can grow in abnormal places unobstructed.
Diagnosis of Endometriosis
Usually, patients suffering from endometriosis seek medical assistance when pelvic pain starts bothering them. Then, the doctors perform tests and ultrasound scanning of the pelvic area, ruling out various diseases which can appear there. However, if endometriosis is to be successfully diagnosed, visual inspection of the area is necessary, along with tissue biopsy of any endometriosis implants found. These samples are obtained through a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.