What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynecological medical condition that occurs when cells from the lining of the uterus appear and grow outside the uterus. Endometriosis occurs in approximately 10% of all women. Every month, a woman’s ovaries secrete hormones that tell the endometrium (the cells that line the uterus) to swell and thicken. During menstruation, the body naturally removes cells from the uterine lining.
In endometriosis, the cells outside the uterus remain intact after menstruation. These remaining endometrial cells continue to grow, resulting in an accumulation of abnormal tissue. Abnormal tissue growth outside of the uterus can occur in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowels, rectum, bladder, and lining of the pelvic area, as well as other areas of the body.
Endometriosis can be mistaken for other diseases that cause pelvic pain such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or ovarian cysts. These conditions can accompany endometriosis and make diagnosis difficult.
Causes of Endometriosis
The cause of endometriosis is unknown, but there are a few theories:
- Retrograde Menstruation: Endometrial cells deposit in unusual locations due to backward flow of menstrual blood into the fallopian tubes, the pelvis and/or abdomen.
- Coelomic Metaplasia: Areas that line the pelvic organs have primitive cells that can grow into other forms of tissue, including endometrial cells.
Surgery: Direct transfer of endometrial tissues to other places in the body can occur during surgery. This is often seen in women with surgical scars from episiotomy or Cesarean section.
- Immune Response: Impaired immune response can affect the body’s ability to identify and destroy any misdirected growth of endometrial tissue.
Hormone Imbalance: Excessive levels of estrogen can stimulate increased endometrial cell growth.
- Environmental Factors: Xenoestrogen is a type of xenohormone that mimics estrogen. Increased levels of these artificial estrogens may lead to endometriosis. Women are exposed to these foreign hormones through various avenues, including oral contraceptives and environmental factors (i.e. milk and meat production, agricultural pesticides, plastics, etc.).
Common Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea): Dysmenorrhea is characterized by pelvic, back and/or abdominal pain and cramping, which can occur before and during mention
- Pain associated with bowel movements and/or urination during the menstrual cycle
- Menorrhagia (heavy periods) and/or menometrorrhagia (bleeding between periods).
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
Pain may not be a reliable indicator for rating the severity of endometriosis. Some women with advanced endometriosis may experience little to no pain, while those with mild endometriosis may complain of significant pain. Symptoms also depend on the location of active endometriosis.
Risk Factors for Endometriosis
A woman is more likely to develop endometriosis if she has:
- A mother or sister with this condition
- Started menses at a young age
- Never had children
- Frequent periods or periods that last 7 or more days
Your Solution: Treatment of Endometriosis with Natural Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy for Women
There are several options available to help treat this condition, but your response to treatment can vary depending on your age, the severity of your symptoms and the severity of the disease. If you want to have children, that will also affect the treatment options.
If you have been diagnosed with endometriosis, your hormone levels should be assessed for hormone imbalance. Bioidentical hormone replacement therapy can be effective in controlling the build-up of abnormal endometrial cell growth outside of the uterus. In addition to bioidentical hormone replacement therapy, a healthy diet, supplementation and exercise can help reduce the symptoms. At Genemedics Health Institute, our doctors design comprehensive and personalized programs to help women reduce symptoms and regain their health.