Endometriosis is a disorder varcharacterized by the appearance of tissue resembling the inner lining of the uterus, or endometrium, at unusual locations in the lower abdomen. This tissue may be found on the surface of the ovary, behind the uterus, in the abdominal cavity, on the intestinal wall and even at sites further away. Endometriosis is classified by stages, which take into account the severity of the disorder and its anatomical location. The four stages include minimal, mild, moderate and severe. Although the most common time to have symptoms from endometriosis is between ages 20 and 30, it can affect females between puberty and menopause.
Causes of Endometriosis
The following theory seems the most likely among medical professionals: During ovulation, the uterus lining thickens to prepare for the fertilized egg . If this implantation doesn’t occur, the lining tissue peels away from the uterus. It is expelled in the menstrual flow. Sometimes, this material builds up and passes out of the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity. It floats freely and attaches itself to other tissues. This transplanted tissue continues to react each month like it were still in the uterus, thickening, peeling away, and new bits of peeled-off tissue create new implants. This abnormal growth of endometrial tissue between pelvic organs may cause them to stick together, producing pain and other symptoms.
Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Symptoms of endometriosis are somewhat varied, owing to the anatomical areas where the abnormal tissue is deposited. However, there are a number of symptoms that tend to be more common, irrespective of the site of the endometriosis. The symptoms may begin abruptly or develop over many years. The include increased pelvic pain during menstrual periods, especially the last days, or the pelvic pain may occur at anytime. There is painful sexual intercourse. Bleeding in the stool, bleeding in the urine and irregular episodes of menstrual bleeding may occur. When the endometriosis involves the spine or ligamentous attachments to it, there can be back pain. Intestinal contractions can cause pain, particularly if the outside of the intestinal wall is involved with this disorder. There frequently are problems with getting pregnant, or infertility.
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Medical Content Last Updated on 07/12/2008
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