Atypical Endometriosis

Definition - What does Atypical Endometriosis mean?

Atypical endometriosis is a unique type of advanced endometriosis where the tissues that are normally found in the inner lining of the uterus are found in other organs in the abdomen such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the pelvic cavity and these tissues show early changes of progressing to cancer. The cellular changes that lead to atypical endometriosis usually occur after years of having benign endometriosis, and if not detected and treated promptly it can progress to cancer. In addition to the risk of cancer, atypical endometriosis, like typical endometriosis can also lead to infertility in women.

FertilitySmarts explains Atypical Endometriosis

Endometriosis can cause long-lasting pelvic pain that is often related to menstrual cycles, pain during intercourse, urinary symptoms and infertility. Atypical endometriosis also gives rise to the same symptoms. In advanced stages, if atypical cells transform into a malignancy, the patient can develop symptoms due to the growing tumor or its spread to distant sites.

The ovary is the most common site for atypical endometriosis and endometriosis-related cancers. It can also be seen in any other site in the pelvis that can be affected by endometriosis.

Atypical endometriosis, although not common, can progress to cancer and in some instances, atypical endometriosis and cancer can coexist, so the presence of atypical endometriosis in a woman warrants thorough evaluation of the patient to identify and treat existing or potential cancer.

A diagnosis of atypical endometriosis is usually done with laparoscopy. Atypical endometriosis tissue lacks the characteristic appearance of endometriosis, and these tissues are then biopsied and examined under the microscope to confirm atypical endometriosis.

The cause of endometriosis is not well understood. It is believed that genetics and hormone levels in the body play a role in the disease process.

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