Endometriosis

Endometriosis

During the menstrual cycle, a woman’s body undergoes changes to prepare for a potential pregnancy. One of these changes is the growth of the endometrium, a layer of tissue lining the inside of the uterus which, in the event of pregnancy, provides a suitable environment for the embryo’s development.

Endometriosis is characterized by the abnormal growth of endometrial tissue outside the uterus, typically in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, or intestines. This additional endometrial tissue also sheds and bleeds during the menstrual period.

This abnormal growth causes menstruation to be more painful and, in some cases, debilitating, as the inflamed endometrial tissue can affect other organs and tissues.

Symptoms of endometriosis vary from person to person and may include:

  • Dysmenorrhea (menstrual pain)
  • Dyspareunia (pain during sexual intercourse)
  • Lower abdominal pain
  • Heavy menstrual periods or bleeding between periods
  • Anemia

Diagnosis

Diagnosing endometriosis can be complicated, as the exact cause of the disease is unknown and difficult to study.

The doctor may suspect endometriosis based on the patient’s symptoms and perform several tests, such as:

  • Medical history interview to understand symptoms and pain.
  • Gynecological examination to look for signs of endometriosis.
  • Vaginal ultrasound with doppler and, in some cases, pelvic magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
    Blood tests, including the CA-125 marker.
  • In some cases, a laparoscopy may be performed, a minimally invasive surgery that allows the doctor to visualize and treat endometriotic lesions.

Treatment

The treatment of endometriosis depends on several factors and may include:

  • Artificial insemination for patients with early-stage endometriosis (Stage I and II).
  • In vitro fertilization (IVF) for patients with more advanced endometriosis (Stage III and IV), especially if the fallopian tubes are affected.
  • Egg donation for patients with severe endometriosis who have not had success with other fertility treatments.
  • Egg freezing to preserve fertility, especially in cases of advanced endometriosis, allowing the eggs to be used in future treatments when the patient is ready to conceive.
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