Endometriosis is a condition where
the endometrium that normally lines the uterus, is also outside the uterus.
Common sites are the ovaries and the ligament supports of the uterus itself.
Women with an "ectopic" endometrium will have a period each month, but
as there is no escape route for the blood produced, a little blood-filled
blister is formed. Each month this will increase in size. Sometimes ovarian
endometriosis can form very large cysts filled with old blood.
What are the symptoms
Endometriosis is associated with
infertility. In severe cases, when adhesions are formed, it results in
infertility because the motility of the tubes is reduced. In less severe
cases, the increased production of prostaglandin by the endometriosis probably
interferes with normal tubal and ovarian function. Apart from infertility,
other major aspects of this condition are increasingly painful periods
sometimes with heavier bleeding, and painful intercourse on deep penetration.
Surprisingly, quite a number of women with severe endometriosis have no
symptoms at all. On pelvic examination the uterus may be less mobile than
usual and even fixed in its position. Sometimes firm, tender nodules can
be felt in the pelvic ligaments.
How is endometriosis
tested and treated
When the history and examination
suggest the possibility of endometriosis, the definite diagnosis is usually
made at laparoscopy. The treatment is either medical or surgical.
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