Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition that affects women, particularly those of childbearing age. It affects about 10 percent of the women population. Despite being widely prevalent, it is one of the most poorly diagnosed conditions among women.
The endometriosis clinic at Aster Hospital offers comprehensive treatment for the condition. Led by a multi-disciplinary team of doctors, the department aims to diagnose and treat the cases.
Dr. Antonio Privitera, consultant colorectal surgeon, about endometriosis, its symptoms, and the treatment offered at Aster hospitals in the UAE.
Q: What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when tissues like those that line the inside of the uterus grow outside the organ. During every menstrual cycle, these tissues inside the uterus build up and shed if the woman is not pregnant. However, in endometriosis, these tissues grow outside the uterus – inside the pelvis or the abdominal cavity. During each menstrual cycle, these misplaced tissues build up and shed outside the uterus to cause bleeding. It leads to inflammation, swelling, and scarring.
Q: How will endometriosis affect the life of a woman?
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are severely painful menstrual cycles accompanied by debilitating menstrual cramps. Women with endometriosis also experience abnormal or heavy menstrual flow. The other symptoms include painful urination, bowel movements, and other gastrointestinal problems during menstruation.
Q: How will endometriosis cause infertility?
Endometriosis is one of the major causes of female infertility. According to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, endometriosis is the cause of infertility among 24-50 percent of women.
Endometriosis can impair the release of the egg from the ovary and cause infertility among women of childbearing age. In these women, fertility can be restored through a surgical procedure by removing adhesions, cysts, and scar tissues.
Q: How can we diagnose endometriosis?
A doctor can diagnose endometriosis at times by conducting a physical examination of the pelvis. The fool-proof method is to undergo a laparoscopic procedure where the doctor would insert a thin tube with a camera at the end into the abdomen through a small incision. It will help the doctor determine the location, extent, and size of the endometrial growth. The other diagnostic methods are ultrasound, CT, or MRI scan.
Q: Why is endometriosis a poorly diagnosed condition among women?
The primary reason is that women neglect the symptoms of endometriosis. The diagnosis happens when they consult a doctor for infertility or other severe symptoms.
Women who experience severely debilitating pain during menstruation should consult a doctor and rule out the possibility of endometriosis to avoid complications.
In the initial stages, medicines will help treat endometriosis. Once the condition progresses and becomes severe, one might undergo a surgical procedure for the cure.