How Endometriosis Affects Conception
Endometriosis is really a common, yet poorly understood disease. It can strike women of any socioeconomic class, age, or race. It is estimated that between 10 and 20 percent of American women of childbearing age have endometriosis.
Although some women with endometriosis could have severe pelvic pain, other people who have the condition haven’t any symptoms. Nothing about endometriosis is simple, and you can find no absolute cures. The condition can affect a woman’s whole existence–her capability to work, her ability to reproduce, and her relationships with her mate, her child, and everyone around her.
What is Endometriosis?
The name endometriosis comes from the term “endometrium,” the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. In case a woman is not pregnant, this tissue builds up and is shed each month. It really is discharged as menstrual flow at the end of every cycle. In endometriosis, tissue that looks and acts like endometrial tissue is found outside the uterus, usually inside the abdominal cavity. Endometrial tissue residing beyond your uterus responds to the menstrual cycle in a way that is comparable to just how endometrium usually responds in the uterus.
At Endometriosis risks of each cycle, when hormones cause the uterus to shed its endometrial lining, endometrial tissue growing outside the uterus will break apart and bleed. However, unlike menstrual fluid from the uterus, which is discharged from the body during menstruation, blood from the misplaced uterus has no spot to go. Tissues surrounding the area of endometriosis may become inflamed or swollen. The inflammation may produce scar tissue around the area of endometriosis. These endometrial tissue sites may become what exactly are called “lesions,” “implants,” “nodules,” or “growths.”
Endometriosis is most often found in the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, and the ligaments supporting the uterus, in the inner area between the vagina and rectum, on the outer surface of the uterus, and on the liner of the pelvic cavity. Infrequently, endometrial growths are located on the intestines or in the rectum, on the bladder, vagina cervix, and vulva (external genitals), or in abdominal surgery scars, Very rarely, endometrial growths have been found outside the abdomen, in the thigh, arm, or lung.
Physicians may use stages to describe the severe nature of endometriosis. Endometrial implants which are small and not widespread are considered minimal or mild endometriosis. Moderate endometriosis implies that larger implants or even more extensive scar tissue exists. Severe endometriosis is used to spell it out large implants and extensive scar tissue.
What are the Symptoms?
Most commonly, the outward symptoms of endometriosis start years after menstrual periods begin. Over the years, the symptoms have a tendency to gradually increase because the endometriosis areas upsurge in size. After menopause, the abnormal implants shrink away and the outward symptoms subside. The most common symptom is pain, specially excessive menstrual cramps (dysmenorrhea) which may be felt in the abdomen or spine or pain during or after sex (dyspareunia). Infertility occurs in about 30-40 percent of women with endometriosis.
Rarely, the irritation caused by endometrial implants may progress into infection or abscesses causing pain independent of the menstrual cycle.
Endometrial patches may also be tender to the touch or pressure, the intestinal pain may also derive from endometrial patches on the walls of the colon or intestine. The number of pain is not always linked to the severity of the condition. Some women with severe endometriosis have no pain; while others with a few small growths have incapacitating pain.
Endometrial cancer is quite rarely connected with endometriosis, occurring in less than 1 percent of women who’ve the disease. When it does occur, it is usually within more complex patches of endometriosis in older women and the long-term outlook in these unusual cases is reasonably good.
How is Endometriosis Related to Fertility Problems?
Severe endometriosis with extensive scarring and organ damage may affect fertility. It really is considered one of many three significant reasons of female infertility.
However, unsuspected or mild endometriosis is a common finding among infertile women. How this type of endometriosis affects fertility continues to be not clear.
While the pregnancy rates for patients with endometriosis remain lower than those of the general population, most patients with endometriosis do not experience fertility problems. We do not have a clear knowledge of the cause-effect relationship of endometriosis and infertility
What is the Cause of Endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is still unknown. One theory is that during menstruation a few of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes in to the abdomen, where it implants and grows. Another theory shows that endometriosis can be a genetic process or that certain families could have predisposing factors to endometriosis. In the latter view, endometriosis is seen as the tissue development process gone awry.
In line with the theory of traditional chinese medicine, endometriosis is really a disease which is caused by the stagnation of blood. Blood stagnation may occur due to a number of abortions or lower abdominal or pelvic surgeries.
Additionally, engaging in sexual intercourse during menstruation may more than likely over time cause blood stagnation. Emotional trauma, severe stress, physical or emotional abuse can all lead to the stagnation of blood.
Additionally, diet can be a precipitating factor. The constant, longterm ingestion of cold foods can congeal blood and therefore donate to the stagnation thereof. Cold foods include raw vegetable, ices, ice cream, ice in drinks, frozen yogurt, etc. Remember, cold congeals. Consider what happens to a standard glass of water when put in the freezer. It turns to ice.
The blood is affected similarly. In other words, it congeals, doesn’t flow smoothly and will form endometrial adhesions, chocolate cysts, uterine fibroids. Regardless of the reason behind endometriosis, its progression is influenced by various stimulating factors such as hormones or growth factors. In this regard, investigators are studying the role of the immune system in activating cells which could secrete factors which, in turn, stimulate endometriosis.
Along with these new hypotheses, investigators are continuing to look into previous theories that endometriosis is a disease influenced by delaying childbearing. Since the hormones made by the placenta during pregnancy prevent ovulation, the progress of endometriosis is slowed or stopped during pregnancy and the full total number of lifetime cycles is reduced for a woman who had multiple pregnancies.
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Diagnosis of endometriosis begins with a gynecologist evaluating the patient’s medical history. A complete physical exam, including a pelvic examination, is also necessary. However, diagnosis of endometriosis is complete when proven by way of a laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure in which a laparoscope (a tube with a light in it) is inserted right into a small incision in the abdomen.
The laparoscope is moved around the abdomen, which includes been distended with skin tightening and gas to make the organs easier to see. The surgeon may then check the health of the abdominal organs and start to see the endometrial implants. The laparoscopy will show the locations, extent, and size of the growths and will help the patient and her doctor make better-informed decisions about treatment. Endometriosis is really a long-standing disease that often develops slowly.
What is the Treatment?
While the treatment for endometriosis has varied over time, doctors now agree that if the symptoms are mild, no further treatment apart from medication for pain may be needed. Endometriosis is really a progressive disorder.
It is my opinion that by not treating endometriosis it will get worse. Treatment should immediately after a positive diagnosis is made. The pain associated with endometriosis can be diminished through the use of acupuncture and herbal medicine. I have treated a lot of women with endometriosis and also have successfully alleviated pain and slowed up growth and recurrence of endometriosis.
For those patients with mild or minimal endometriosis who wish to become pregnant, doctors are advising that, depending on age of the individual and the amount of pain associated with the disease, the best plan of action is to have a trial amount of unprotected intercourse for 6 months to 1 12 months. If pregnancy will not occur within that point, then further treatment may be needed. Again, these patients should consider herbal medicine to aid in the process of conception.