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Endometriosis Is More Common Than You Think And Here Is All You Should Know About The Gynaecological Disorder

khushboo sharmakhushboo sharma  |  Oct 14, 2021
Endometriosis

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It is 2021 and period stigma in India continues to be a sad reality that is causing more problems than one can fathom. The lack of information around endometriosis is one of them. According to a recent study by ECGRI, it is estimated to impact around 42 million women in India. Despite the alarmingly high figures, information about the condition remains severely limited in the country. Forget information, most of us don’t even know that something like endometriosis actually exists and more often than not, it is misunderstood to be a severely painful/long menstruation cycle. 

Endometriosis thus continues to be one of the most common and yet one of the most misunderstood gynaecological disorders that tend to get progressively worse and can cause excruciating pain. This is exactly why this condition needs to be diagnosed so that the patient can get timely medical attention. To understand more about endometriosis, we recently reached out to Dr. Anagha Chhatrapati, Gynaecologist, Obstetrician, Infertility Specialist at Global Hospital, Mumbai. She helped us understand the condition and talked about the symptoms we should be looking out for. Edited excerpts below: 

What Is Endometriosis? 

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“Endometriosis is a condition in which menstrual blood or active endometrium as it is medically called is found in places other than the uterine lining,” explains Dr. Anagha. Normally, the tissue that lines the uterus, (known as the endometrium), is found only in the uterus. However, in the case of endometriosis, this tissue grows outside the uterus as well. 

In normal conditions, the blood in the uterus lining flows out of the body during periods. But in endometriosis, the abnormally placed menstrual blood keeps getting collected in the body during each menstrual cycle. The most common sites are the ovaries (chocolate cyst), the abdominal cavity (peritoneal, intestinal adhesions), the muscle layer of the uterus (adenomyosis), and sometimes, the intestines and urinary tract. 

 Common Endometriosis Symptoms

According to Dr. Anagha, the endometriosis symptoms depend upon the location of the extra-uterine endometrium or in layman’s language, the abnormally grown uterine tissues. Here are some of the most common ones based on the site: 

Ovaries

It leads to chocolate cysts in the ovaries. The name of the condition is derived from the colour of the blood that gets collected over a long period of time in sterile conditions (no infection) and eventually turns brown. In this case, endometriosis can cause low-grade constant pain in the pelvis.

Intestines 

The intestinal involvement causes intestinal adhesions and in some cases, severe abdominal pain. It can also lead to pain during sex. 

Muscle Layer Of Uterus

Adenomyosis or endometriosis of the muscle layer of the uterus, causes the uterus to become bulky or swollen and leads to pain in the abdomen, severe period cramps, and excessive bleeding during periods. 

Treatments 

Endometriosis treatments depend upon three factors–the patient’s age, desire to reproduce, and the severity of symptoms. “Medical management is generally recommended in mild cases, which involves giving progesterone hormone, in the form of tablets (dienogest) or local intrauterine hormone delivery device progestagen (IUD),” shares Dr. Anagha. 

As the condition can impact fertility, a different route is taken for the treatment of patients who wish to conceive. “In patients desiring childbearing, laparoscopic removal of the chocolate cyst is done followed by ovulation induction. Those who don’t wish to conceive and suffer from severe bleeding and pain can undergo laparoscopic hysterectomy or uterus removal surgery. For more complex disease, an extensive operation is needed which may involve removal of part of the affected intestinal segment,” adds the doctor. 

Things To Keep In Mind

In case you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, here are a few things that you should keep in mind. 

  1. Endometriosis is a progressive condition. Don’t neglect symptoms of pelvic pain and consult a medical professional immediately. An expert opinion from a gynecologist and a good ultrasonography will help you diagnose the condition in early stages.
  2. Avoid delaying childbirth. It adversely affects the prospects of conceiving. Also, milder the affection, easier the infertility treatment.
  3. Follow the treatment advised by the gynaecologist. Trust that the earlier treatment can halt progression to severe disease.

Lastly, remember to never let go of any menstrual abnormalities unchecked. An early endometriosis diagnosis can save you from a lot of pain and challenges in later life.

Featured Image: Unsplash