Endometrial pain also known as Endometriosis, is a condition of abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus. The inner lining of the uterus is called endometrium and is composed of the endometrial tissue that sometimes can start growing in other places outside the womb, such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes.
This long term condition can affect women of any age but is most common for women in their 30s and 40s. Endometriosis is thought to affect around 11 percent of women in the United States aged 15 and 44 years.
The endometrial tissue that normally grows in the uterus consists of blood cells, connective tissue and glands that prepares the womb lining for ovulation. Normally this tissue will be discharged during menstruation, but the displaced tissue cannot. The displaced tissue continues to grow, affecting different body functions and leading to some painful symptoms. The buildup of this tissue is on locations outside the uterus, usually in the pelvic area, ovaries, fallopian tubes, the peritoneum and lymph nodes causing pain and infertility.
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known but some of the common causes include:
- Genetics, as this condition tends to run in families.
- Problems with the menstrual flow and Retrograde menstruation when some of the womb lining flows up through the fallopian tubes and embeds itself on the organs of the pelvis.
- Immune system problems.
- Hormones as the endometriosis is stimulated by the hormone estrogen.
The endometrial pain symptoms vary as some women feel the pain more greatly than others. Some will not have any noticeable symptoms at all.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Pelvic pain which becomes worse during menstruation or intercourse
- Pain during urination or bowel movements
- Back pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Irregular menstruation
- Blood in the urine
The diagnosis of endometriosis can be challenging as there is no single test for evaluation and the only true confirmation of the condition is with a surgical procedure called laparoscopy.
A surgical laparoscopy is a minimally invasive procedure in which a thin, lighted tube with a tiny camera attached, called a laparoscope, is inserted through a small incision in the pelvic area. During the procedure, the surgeon will visualize and often biopsy the abnormal tissue to obtain the diagnosis.
The treatments for Endometrial pain include:
- Hormone medicine and contraceptives
- Surgery that will cut away the patches of endometriosis tissue
- An operation that will remove the organs affected by the endometriosis