Facts & Statistics
What is Endometriosis?
Stages of Endometriosis
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Do you know estimates suggest that around 30-50% of women with endometriosis experience infertility?
Facts & Statistics:
- Endometriosis is a common debilitating condition that typically occurs in 6-10% of the female population in their reproductive age.
- Women present with pain, fertility issues, or both, the frequency is 35-50% and about 25-50% of infertile women have endometriosis.
- Endometriosis symptoms are usually present during the reproductive years.
As a part of endometriosis awareness, what do women need to know about this very common condition? Find out more about endometriosis:
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an inflammatory condition where the tissue similar to the uterine lining (endometrium) is grown elsewhere in the body, often grows in the pelvic area, womb, ovaries & fallopian tubes.
Endometriosis resembles endometrial tissue when examined under a microscope. Endometrial tissue consists of glands, blood cells, and connective tissues and normally grows in the uterus to prepare the uterine lining for implantation.
Endometriosis tissue contains endometrial glands & stroma but that is the only similarity it shares with normal endometrium. The tissue associated with endometriosis might act the same way as the lining of the uterus thickening & then breaking down & come out as bleeding during the menstrual cycle. Due to its location and its inability to leave the body like normal menstrual flow, this cyclic swelling along with bleeding can cause significant pain, which is one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis.
The endometrial-like tissues could even block fallopian tubes and lead to ovarian cysts, and otherwise interfere with the ability of conception or sustain a healthy pregnancy.
Stages of Endometriosis
There are several ways to classify endometriosis based on the guidelines by various endometriosis societies. There is always a debate regarding surgical stages. The stages explained here avoid unnecessary medical jargon and also puts the respective stages in simple words.
Stage-1-Minimal—-in this stage a patient can have small adhesions and also small amounts of endometrial tissues on ovaries. it may even include inflammation in or around the pelvic area.
Stage-2-Mild—- At this stage, more adhesions are formed on or around the ovaries, and defined to be too significant and are typically too small to be noticed in ultrasound, unless the physician pays attention to the probe tenderness in the area while examining the ovary.
Stage-3-Moderate—-at the moderate stage adhesions would be blatantly obvious and often have more cysts on ovaries. there might be growths in other areas near the pelvis blurring into the territory of stage-4 endometriosis.
Stage-4-Severe—-the final stage is associated with numerous cysts as well as severe adhesions. Most of the cysts would appear on the ovaries while the adhesions appear over the pelvic region and may affect the fallopian tubes and bowels too. Stage-4 endometriosis can make bowel movements terribly uncomfortable, moreover, the period pain is worst.
Endometriosis symptoms are vague and vary from one to one and sometimes, many women with endometriosis will be asymptomatic ( that is they will not show off any signs or symptoms associated with the condition) & even unaware that they have endometriosis.
While in other cases, symptoms would be quite severe and have a considerable impact on the woman’s physical as well as general wellbeing. However, many women with endometriosis have reported experiencing:
Dysmenorrhea—dysmenorrhea is the medical term referring to painful periods, while most women experience cramping during their menstrual cycle and even causes significant cramping as well as pelvic pain that begins before your menstrual cycle and often lasts for many days after you have stopped bleeding.
Pain During urination or bowel movements
When a woman has endometriosis, she may experience severe pain during urination or bowel movements that are often misdiagnosed as IBS-Irritable Bowel Syndrome or a urinary bladder issue.
Lower Back Pain
Lower back pain associated with endometriosis can occur at any time but might become more intense just before, during, right after your menstrual cycle.
Pain during & After sexual intercourse
Many women having endometriosis report painful sex, while it is often related to the location of the abnormal tissue growths linked to endometriosis.
Heavy and abnormal periods
This chronic condition often causes excessive bleeding during menstrual cycles. Many women with endometriosis even have periods with light spotting that seems like a normal period.
Abnormal growth of tissue can cause bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea, and these symptoms are often mistaken for digestive issues but these get worsen significantly during menstruation.
Endometriosis reduces the ability to become pregnant and also leads to subfertility.
Pain is the most common indication of endometriosis, but the severity of the pain doesn’t always correlate with the extent of the disease.
The above symptoms are not exclusive to endometriosis, as stated by many fertility specialists. Painful periods are not always pointed to as endometriosis, sometimes they are a separate condition known as dysmenorrhea. Pelvic pain could also be caused due to scar tissue, previous infections, or a history of appendicitis. Inflammatory or irritable bowel syndrome can also cause pelvic pain.
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are varied medical treatments that help suppress symptoms. There are surgical treatments to remove the disease, but there is no way to prevent the recurrence of endometriosis.
women who are experiencing mild symptoms of endometriosis and don’t wish to have children are best treated through hormonal therapies. These hormonal therapies include both birth control and progesterone medications, aromatase inhibitors, GnRH agonists, etc. non-steroidal and anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prescribed to combat the pain associated with the condition.
For patients who are interested in fertility and desire to conceive, surgery is often a viable option to treat the condition and improve the chances of conception. In cases of mild to moderate endometriosis, sometimes fertility medications are tried with limited success. Often in cases of severe endometriosis that desire children IVF is much needed. In severe endometriosis cases where pain medications & hormonal treatments have not been effective in combating the symptoms, surgery is an option.
Dr. Vyjayanthi is a board-certified sub-specialist and endocrinologist and fertility specialist who leads MotherToBe’s team of fertility experts. We are well-known for their warm and compassionate approach to help people struggling with fertility issues and our success rates are high to make them one of the best fertility centers in Hyderabad, India.
We use state-of-the-art technology to accurately diagnose this chronic condition and offer varied successful treatments that could help you overcome the infertility challenges due to endometriosis.
Struggling with endometriosis-related fertility issues?
Schedule a visit with our endocrinologists at MotherToBe fertility center. We are here to support you achieve your dream of becoming a parent.