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Topic of the Month

 

Endometriosis – What You Need To Know

 

March is dedicated to become more informed about Endometriosis, a disorder where the tissue that normally grows inside the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside of the uterus. It is a very painful condition that usually involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis that can affect any woman of reproductive age, but most commonly affects those in their 30s and 40s.[1], [2] It is rare that tissue grows outside of the pelvic region, but it can occur.  Since the endometrial tissue abnormally growing outside the uterus cannot be shed monthly, it builds up over time. Due to the buildup of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, cysts on the ovaries, scarring, and adhesions may form.1 Adhesions are bands of fibrous tissues that connect the organs or pelvic tissues together. Common symptoms include pain in the lower back, abdomen, heavy periods or bleeding between menstrual cycles, painful menstrual cramps, and in some cases, infertility.[3] It is estimated that between 6 to 10% of women of reproductive age suffer from endometriosis, since not everyone that has the disorder displays symptoms.1 There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments for the pain and infertility related to endometriosis.

Factors that Could Increase Risk of Endometriosis:

-          Mother, sister, or daughter diagnosed with endometriosis

-          Began menstruating at an early age (before 11 years)

-          Monthly cycles are less than normal (less than 27 days)

-          Frequent or heavy menstrual cycles that last more than 7 days

-          Never had children

 

Factors that Could Lower Risk of Endometriosis:

-          Pregnancy

-          Periods starting late in adolescence

-          Exercising regularly (more than 4 hours a week)

-          Lower amount of body fat

 

Treatments Include:

-          Pain medications

-          Hormone treatments

-          Surgery

 

 

 

Resources:

Mayo Clinic – Endometriosis

http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/home/ovc-20236421

Medline Plus – Patient Handouts

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000915.htm

Reproductive Facts – Endometriosis Fact Sheet

http://www.reproductivefacts.org/uploadedFiles/ASRM_Content/Resources/Patient_Resources/Fact_Sheets_and_Info_Booklets/endometriosis_infertility.pdf

NIH – Treatments

https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/endometri/conditioninfo/Pages/treatment.aspx



[1] http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/home/ovc-20236421

[2] https://www.nichd.nih.gov/health/topics/endometri/conditioninfo/Pages/at-risk.aspx

[3] https://medlineplus.gov/endometriosis.html

 

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