Definition - What does Pelvic Endometriosis mean?
Pelvic endometriosis is a condition in which cells from the inner lining of the uterus (called endometrium) start growing at abnormal locations outside of the uterus such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, broad ligament, uterosacral ligaments, etc.
The condition is estimated to affect 3% to 10% of women during their childbearing years. It can result in scar tissue formation in and around the fallopian tubes, obstructing them and hampering the transit of fertilized ovum to the uterus for implantation. Thus, approximately 30-40% of women with endometriosis encounter infertility.
FertilitySmarts explains Pelvic Endometriosis
Some women with pelvic endometriosis may have no symptoms at all. However, when symptoms do occur, they may include:
- Dysmenorrhea (Painful menstruation)
- Heavy bleeding as the endometrial deposits function like a normal endometrium and bleed every month
- Pelvic pain – this can become chronic with the passage of time
- Lower abdominal or back pain
- Dyspareunia (pain during sex)
- Dyschezia (pain on defecation) – Alternating with cycles of diarrhea and constipation
- Bloating, nausea, and vomiting
- Pain during physical activity
- Infertility/subfertility - due to the formation of pelvic adhesions
Although the ultrasound may aid in the diagnosis, laparoscopy remains the gold-standard method to detect pelvic endometriosis.
Both medical and surgical options are available for endometriosis. Medical treatment may entail combination hormonal pills, danazol, and gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogs that induce a temporary menopause-like state and may ease symptomd.
Surgical options reflect a woman's desire for future childbearing. If a woman has completed her family and the symptoms are overly bothersome, she may elect to have her uterus removed in combination with as many endometrial deposits as possible.
Women with mild endometriosis can still get pregnant with or without assisted reproduction.