Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial tissue normally found in the uterus grows in other areas.
The endometrium, a type of tissue that nourishes fertilized eggs, normally grows each month within the uterus and, if no egg is implanted, is shed through menstruation. Endometriosis occurs at menstruation when normal endometrial tissue backs up with menstrual blood through the fallopian tubes and then implants and grows in other places such as:
The cause of endometriosis is still unknown. One theory is that during menstruation some of the menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes into the abdomen, where it implants and grows. Another theory suggests that endometriosis may be a genetic process or that certain families may have predisposing factors.
The symptoms of endometriosis are:
Diagnosis of endometriosis requires confirmation by a laparoscopy. This is a relatively minor surgical procedure done under anesthesia. A laparoscope (a thin tube with a light in it) is inserted into an incision made in the patient's abdomen. The laparoscope is moved around the abdomen, which has been distended with carbon dioxide gas to make the organs easier to see. The surgeon can then check the condition of the abdominal organs and see the location, extent and size of the endometrial growths.
There is no certain cure for endometriosis. The goal of the treatment is to keep the disease and its symptoms in check. Based on the disease stage, the severity of symptoms, and the patient's age, desire to have children, circumstances and preferences, the doctor will recommend one of three approaches - pharmaceutical intervention (medication), surgery or a combination of the two.
What tests need to be done to diagnose endometriosis or to rule out some other disease? Will a laparoscopy be recommended? What is the procedure? Are there any risks? What is the cause of the condition? What treatment will you be recommending? Will you be prescribing any medication? What are the side effects? How effective is this medication in treating endometriosis? What are the chances that surgery may be needed to correct the condition? How will this affect my chances of getting pregnant and of having a successful pregnancy?