Do you suffer from pain in the lower abdomen and irregular or intermittent blood discharge?
These may be the first symptoms of endometriosis. Endometriosis is a common possible cause for infertility in many women. Endometriosis is a condition in which the special endometrial cells lining the inner wall of the uterus start growing in other parts of the body, outside the uterus. During the monthly menstrual cycle, the inner layer of the uterus (endometrium) thickens and is shed, causing the discharge of menstrual blood. However, in endometriosis, these endometrial cells may be found lining the outer layer of pelvis, rectum, bowel, ovaries, and sometimes even other areas of the body.
Some researchers believe that the cells from inside the uterus travel upwards or are not discharged properly due to which they may be present in other parts of the body. In endometriosis, the endometrial cells outside the uterus also undergo the process of the regular menstrual cycle. However, they are not successfully discharged and are often stuck in the fallopian tubes and other parts, which also grow in thickness. As a result, many women become infertile and experience, along with abdominal pain, additional pain after regular periods, and intermittent discharge of blood appearing as symptoms.
Symptoms of Endometriosis Leading to Infertility
Pain in the abdomen and uterus area is among the main symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis. Additional symptoms include:
- Painful periods
- Pain in lower abdomen during and after menstruation
- Severe cramps from a week or two before menstruation that continue after menstruation and may vary in severity
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse is also among the symptoms
- Pain during bowel movements could also be among the symptoms
- Pelvic pain or lower back pain that occurs at any point of time, before or after menstruation, could be among the symptoms
In some women, especially those who have larger tissue growths outside uterus, no pain or symptoms may appear. In certain other women with minor tissue growth outside the uterus, these symptoms may be severe and painful.
Treatments to Relieve Pain and Prevent Infertility
Endometriosis is a condition that can almost definitively lead to infertility without proper treatments. The treatments also differ with age, severity of disease and symptoms, and whether the woman wishes to become pregnant.
Treatments, medications, and hormonal therapies advocated as treatments usual involve taking birth control medications for a continuous period of six to nine months that could affect the ability to get pregnant and cause infertility.
- Exercise and relaxation techniques can help in handling the condition
- Taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil), naproxen (Aleve), and acetaminophen (Tylenol) can help in subsiding abdominal pain associated with endometriosis
- Hormone replacement therapy is among the popular treatments for endometriosis in which the body’s estrogen levels are artificially elevated to mimic pregnancy. These treatments help in relieving most symptoms of endometriosis
- Gonadotropin-agonist medication (Depo Lupron, nafarelin acetate) may be prescribed as treatments to reduce the levels of estrogen and mimic the menopause status. However, vaginal dryness, hot flashes, and mood swings are other symptoms women have to deal with while undergoing these treatments.
- Surgery is one of the best treatments to completely remove the endometriosis cells and possibly cure endometriosis. Laparoscopic treatments and hysterectomy are performed to remove additional tissue growth outside the uterus, which lead to endometriosis.
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