What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disease where cells from the lining of the womb (endometrium) grow in places outside of the uterus like ovaries (where the most common symptom is cysts called endometriomas which are detectable with ultrasound), tubes and other places (even bowel).
It is common among young women and affects fertility.
What causes endometriosis?
While it is unclear what causes endometriosis there are a few theories.
The most common are the following:
- Retrograde menstruation. During menstruation some cells of the endometrium flow backwards through the tubes and into the pelvis where they can impact and grow.
- Altered immunity
- There might be a deficiency in the immune system to recognize endometrial cells in abnormal locations and destroy them
How does endometriosis affect fertility?
From studies it is known that 30-50% of women with endometriosis are infertile.
We dont know the exact cause of infertility in women with endometriosis but there are also a few theories
1) Inflammation causes the production of cytokines which can inhibit the process of fertilization
2) Endometrosis in the ovaries can affect the production of eggs inhibiting ovulation
3) Scarring and adhesions in cases of severe endometriosis can block the tubes making it difficult for the egg to meet the sperm
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The symptoms can vary a lot from one woman to another and depend on the severity of the disease.
- Heavy and painful periods
- Pain during intercourse
- A family history of endometriosis
- Prolonged periods
How do you diagnose endometriosis?
The diagnosis of endometriosis can be done during a routine check up with ultrasound if there are endometriotic cysts in the ovaries or ademyosis in the uterus.
Laparoscopy is the best method to diagnose and treat endometriosis.During laparoscopy a camera is inserted through the umbilicus and we can look inside the abdominal cavity.If there is endometriosis we can treat it at the same time.
Below you can watch a video from one of our patients with a large endometriotic cyst.
This patient became pregnant naturally 10 months after the operation.