Endometriosis and Pregnancy

Endometriosis and Pregnancy – The Complete Story

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis happens when the tissues that line the uterus grow outside the uterine cavity. The endometrial lining of the uterus is naturally shed during menstruation, but the portion of the lining that is attached somewhere else does not have a chance to leave the body. During ovulation and menstruation, this lining can bleed, break down or get torn. These abnormal lesions and implants can form painful scar tissues and bring mild to intense discomfort and pain to a woman.

There are more than seven million women in the U.S. that are affected by endometriosis, according to the Endometriosis Research Center. The disease is the primary cause of gynecologic surgeries, chronic pain in the pelvis, infertility among women and other ovarian problems.

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What Causes Endometriosis?

The cause behind endometriosis is not yet known, although experts have formulated several theories. There is strong evidence that the disease is hereditary, and early studies demonstrate that those who have endometriosis in the family are most likely to have children who will get the disease.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Women with endometriosis develop one or more symptoms. The most common are chronic pain in the pelvic area, dysmenorrhea, painful urination and bowel movements, lower back pain and painful sexual intercourse. Other symptoms include fatigue, irregular or heavy breathing, pain or discomfort during the period of ovulation, gastrointestinal problems and in severe cases, infertility.

Endometriosis Diagnosis

Surgery is the only sure way to diagnose endometriosis. Other methods such as CAT scans, MRIs and ultrasounds are not conclusive when it comes to diagnosing the disease. In deciding on the need for surgical diagnosis, a doctor will usually observe the patient’s symptoms and study his medical history first. The surgical diagnosis may be done using laparotomy or laparoscopy.

A Cure for Endometriosis?

The disease has no cure, but there are several treatments to help patients manage the symptoms.

Endometriosis Treatment

There are four ways to treat endometriosis:

Pain Medication

Over-the-counter medications like aspirin, ibuprofen and acetaminophen can decrease the pain and discomfort of the patient. For those who do not respond well to over-the-counter medicines, prescription medication may be provided.

Hormonal Drug Therapy

This is used to stop a woman’s ovulation, which is necessary to keep the lesions and implants from further aggravation and to ward off other symptoms. Hormonal drugs include progesterone drugs, oral contraceptives and GnRH agonists.

While these drugs are effective, they should only be taken for a limited time to avoid the side effects which can cause serious problems in some women. This drug therapy has been found to be most beneficial after a patient has undergone surgery.

Surgery

Done through laparotomy or laparoscopy, conservative surgery is utilized by doctors to diagnose, eliminate growth and improve the fertility of women with endometriosis. For severe cases, hysterectomy and other forms of radical surgery may be recommended.

Natural or Alternative Therapy

Many women have found remedies such as herbs and vitamins, dietary changes, acupuncture and other forms of traditional Chinese medicine to be helpful in managing endometriosis. Several forms of alternative medicine are now commonly used to treat ovarian problems such as endometriosis and ovarian cysts.

Women experiencing ovarian cyst pain may want to read Natural Ovarian Cyst Relief Secrets by Laura Hennings.

You may also want to consult a certified acupuncturist, dietician or homeopathic physician on alternative ways to deal with the symptoms of endometriosis.

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