What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects a woman’s reproductive organs. Endometriosis is usually a long-lasting (chronic) disease. When women have endometriosis, the type of tissue like that lines the uterus is also growing outside the uterus. The clumps of tissue (called implants) may have grown on the ovaries or fallopian tubes, the outer wall of the uterus, the intestines, or other organs in the bally. In rare cases they spread to areas beyond the belly.
Who Gets Endometriosis?
The exact number of women who develop endometriosis is not known. This is because many women have endometriosis without symptoms, or with mild symptoms, and are never diagnosed. Investigation to diagnose endometriosis are only done if symptoms become troublesome and are not eased by initial treatment.
If symptoms develop they typically begin between the ages of 25-40. Sometimes symptoms begin in the teenage years. Endometriosis can affect any woman. However :
- Sometimes it runs in families. Therefore, endometriosis is more common in close blood relatives of affected women.
- Endometriosis is rare in women past the menopause, as to develop endometriosis you need oestrogen, the female hormone. Oestrogen levels fall after the menopause.
- The combined oral contraceptive pill (often called ‘the pill’) reduces the risk of developing endometriosis. This protective effect may persist for up a year after stopping ‘the pill’.
Who is Affected by Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is rare in postmenopausal women. Studies further suggest that endometriosis is most common in taller, thin women with a low body mass index (BMI). Delaying pregnancy until an order age, never giving birth, early onset of menses, and late menopause all have been shown to increase the risk of endometriosis. It also is likely that there are genetic factors that predispose a woman to developing endometriosis, since having a first-degree relative with the condition increase the chance that a woman will developthe condition.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
- Pain before and during periods
- Pain with sex
- Painful urination during periods
- Painful bowel movements during periods
- Other gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation and nausea.
In addition, many women with endomeriosis suffer from:
- Chemical sensitivities
- Frequent yeast infections
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