Hi there, welcome to Ultrasoundfeminsider, in this post, we will be talking about Endometriosis, I hope you’re having an amazing day today, as usual, Ultrasound pictures with explanations are going to be on the middle of the post, so let’s begin…
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Definition of Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grow in other parts of the body. Like the uterine lining, this tissue builds up and sheds in response to monthly hormonal cycles. However, there is no natural outlet for the blood discarded from these implants. Instead, it falls onto surrounding organs, causing swelling and inflammation. This repeated irritation leads to the development of scar tissue and adhesions in the area of the endometrial implants.
Description of endometriosis.
Endometriosis is estimated to affect 7% of women of childbearing age in the United States. It most commonly seen between the ages of 25 and 40. Endometriosis can also appear in the teen years, but never before the start of menstruation.
Pregnancy may slow the progress of the condition. A more important predictor of a woman’s risk is if her female relatives have endometriosis.
Another influencing factor is the length of a woman’s menstrual cycle. Women with longer than 1 week periods and less than 27 days between periods seem to be more prone to the condition.
Endometrial tissue is more often found on the pelvic organs like ovaries, uterus, fallopian tubes, and in the cavity behind the uterus but occasionally this tissue grows in such distant parts of the body as the lungs, arms, and kidneys.
An ovarian cyst may form around endometrial tissue (endometriomas) and may range from pea to grapefruit size. Endometriosis is a progressive condition that usually advances slowly, over the course of many years.
Doctors rank cases from minimal to severe based on factors such as the number and size of the endometrial implants, their appearance and location, and the extent of the scar tissue and adhesions in the vicinity of the growths.
Very often, endometriosis has no symptoms. When symptoms are present, they may include:
- Abdominal cramps or back pain during menstruation
- Very painful menstrual cramps
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful urination, especially during menstruation
- Abnormal or heavy bleeding during periods
- Painful sex
- Difficulty becoming pregnant.
What is the cause of endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is unknown. One theory is that the endometrial tissue is deposited in unusual locations by the retrograde flow of menstrual debris through the Fallopian tubes into the pelvic and abdominal cavities. The cause of this retrograde menstruation is not clearly understood.
This condition can disrupt your life if it’s left untreated. Please know that Endometriosis has no cure, but its symptoms can be managed.
Medical and surgical options are available to help reduce your symptoms and manage any potential complications. Your doctor may first try conservative treatments. They may then recommend surgery if your condition doesn’t improve.
Everyone reacts differently to these treatment options. Your doctor will help you find the one that works best for you.
Treatment options include:
Hormonal therapy and Hormone Contraceptives: Can help you to relieve the pelvic pain, can also prevent the monthly growth and buildup of Endometrial tissue, the choices are birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings, other hormone therapy can be used, your doctor will evaluate your particular case before treating your condition.
Conservative surgery: Designed for patients that have severe symptoms and has not been responding to any other treatments, again I can address this enough, seeing your doctor is key in order to be diagnosed and properly treated.
Endometriosis is a particularly difficult diagnosis, because it will not show up on an ultrasound or other imaging tests. That means that some women literally wait years for a diagnosis. The only definitive test to diagnose endometriosis is a laparoscopy.
However in advanced stages of the condition a cyst called ENDOMETRIOMA can develop on the ovaries, this finding is a sign of endometriosis.
Sizes of Endometriomas can vary, as soon as an Endometrioma is seen in the ovary, multiples follow up Ultrasounds are done to document the increase in sizing, after that a laparoscopy has to be done to confirm the diagnosis and continue with proper treatment options.
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