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?

Studies indicate that 30-50% of women with endometriosis are infertile.

The precise cause of infertility in women with endometriosis remains unknown; however, several theories have been proposed.

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
  • Infertility
  • A family history of endometriosis
  • Prolonged periods

How do you diagnose endometriosis?

Endometriosis can be diagnosed during a regular check-up using ultrasound if there are ovarian endometriotic cysts or uterine adenomyosis present. However, the most effective method for diagnosing and treating endometriosis is through laparoscopy.

This minimally invasive procedure involves inserting a camera through the umbilicus to visualize the abdominal cavity. If endometriosis is detected, it can be treated during the same procedure.

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.

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