Endometriosis is a condition whereby cells from the uterus lining (endometrium) occur and develop and outside its usual position. It could occur at the back of the uterus, around the ovaries and even the bladder. Endometriosis is usually observed in females during their reproductive years and around 1 in 10 women develop this condition.
Most endometriosis patients experience no symptoms at all. However for those who experience symptoms, the common complaint is experiencing pain in the pelvis as well as infertility. Other signs and symptoms include fatigue, headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea or constipation, fever and irregular periods.
Endometriosis can be suspected based on the signs and symptoms described and based on a physical examination. The use of pelvic ultrasound could identify large endometriotic cysts. However the identification of smaller cysts could not be detected.
The most accurate way of diagnosis is laparoscopy. A scope with a camera at the tip is inserted and used to explore the abdominal cavity.
While there is no cure for endometriosis, treatment options include tackling the pain and tackling the issue of infertility. Medication could be prescribed to alleviate the pain. Patients dealing with infertility might consider the option of IVF if they would want to have children.
Surgery could also be considered. Minimally invasive surgery could be performed via laparoscopy whereby small incisions are made around the belly button and at the lower portion of the tummy. This allows the insertion of small surgical instruments that are used to remove unwanted endometriotic tissue at specific points. This form of surgery is considered “minimally invasive” due to the small scars, which will disappear after surgery.
There is a general high recurrence rate of 21.5% and 40% after 2 and 5 years respectively after the surgery. Patients who do not want to conceive might opt for a hysterectomy.