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What is Endometriosis

Endometriosis blog 01

What is Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a condition that affects the female reproductive system. It is fairly common, affecting around 1 in 10 women, and is usually associated with pelvic pain, particularly during menstruation.

The condition is characterised by the growth of cells outside the uterine lining. Pain in the lower abdomen, inflammation, and possible issues with fertility can result. It typically develops at some point between the beginning of menstruation and menopause, although it most often develops in a woman’s 20s or 30s.

If you are suffering from pelvic pain, you may find it helpful to know the common causes and symptoms of endometriosis, as well as your treatment options. Also, you may need to discuss your symptoms with a doctor who can advise you based on your own health and circumstances. Speak to our professionals at Essence Healthcare in Melbourne to learn more about endometriosis.

Common symptoms

Everyone is different and may have different symptoms. However, the most common symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Painful periods
  • Pain during urination or defecation
  • Lower abdominal or pelvic pain
  • Fertility issues

If you suffer any of the above symptoms, this does not necessarily indicate that you have endometriosis. If you wish to know what is causing your symptoms, speak to a qualified doctor.

Although the effects may be different depending on the type and severity of the condition, the most common symptom is pain with menstruation (dysmenorrhoea). This can be severe in some cases. Since many women with endometriosis experience this severe pain during menstruation, they may not realise that it isn’t a ‘normal’ amount of discomfort. If you are wondering whether the pain you experience is common to ordinary menstrual pain, consider the following questions:

  • Does the pain last for longer than a couple of days?
  • Does it interfere with your daily life and activities?
  • Is the pain severe?
  • Does the pain remain even after taking medication for period pain?

Asking yourself these questions may help you decide whether it’s the right time to seek an opinion from a medical professional. Speak to a doctor to get a qualified opinion about your symptoms and potential avenues to treatment.

Potential causes of endometriosis

While the exact cause of the condition is unknown, there are many theories explaining why some people get it, and there are some factors that may make a woman more susceptible. According to Australian research, a woman who has a family history of endometriosis is more likely to also suffer the condition. It often develops gradually and may continue until menopause.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium cells grow outside of the uterus instead of inside. These cell growths may appear, for example, around organs such as the bowel, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. This can lead to inflammation and scar tissue in these areas, which can be painful.

Diagnosis

Getting a reliable diagnosis is the first step to correct treatment. While not every endometriosis patient will experience the same symptoms, the only way to get a correct diagnosis is through meeting with a doctor that has a good understanding of the condition

  • Endometriosis may also have different characteristics in each patient, affecting different organs and functions of the body. For this reason, a case of endometriosis may fit into a certain category of diagnosis, from mild to severe.
  • You should note that endometriosis is often very difficult to diagnose, since there are other conditions that may present similar symptoms. Currently, the only way to definitively diagnose the condition is via a surgery known as laparoscopy. This procedure doesn’t always lead to a correct diagnosis, however. Sometimes, a medical professional can narrow the diagnosis with imaging technology such as ultrasound or MRI.

    It is also important to note that the level of pain does not necessarily correspond with the severity of the condition. The best way to get an accurate and reliable diagnosis is by discussing your case with a qualified doctor.

    What are the treatment options?

    Although the condition is not considered preventable, there are some methods of treatment. For example, a doctor may advise that you begin by taking anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen over the course of your menstrual period. For some, this may be adequate to reduce the pain, while others may seek further treatment options.

    Your doctor may recommend a hormonal medication to reduce the symptoms. In other cases, patients may find relief from changes to lifestyle or diet, acupuncture, or physiotherapy as a complementary therapy.

    Weighing the risks and potential benefits of each treatment approach is important. Ensure that you research the treatment options available to you so that you can make a good decision for your body and health.

    Does the condition cause infertility?

    While one of the effects of endometriosis is issues with fertility, the condition does not mean that you can never get pregnant. It is possible, and even common, for women with this condition to not have problems when trying to conceive.

    According to research conducted by the Australian Department of Health, fertility challenges may be experienced by up to 1 in 3 women suffering from endometriosis. This means that while the condition can present challenges in some cases, this is not true for all (or even most) cases. The extent to which the condition affects your fertility will depend on your own health and circumstances.

    Reasons to choose Essence Healthcare Clinic for Endometriosis treatment in Melbourne & Maribyrnong

    When seeking to identify, diagnose, or treat any medical condition, it is crucial to source accurate information. Endometriosis is a common condition that has long-term effects for many women. Therefore, seeking guidance from a doctor with the proper qualifications and experience will be highly beneficial.

    Our team of qualified doctors and medical professionals are dedicated to quality patient care. We value a patient-centred and respectful approach to healthcare and aim to welcome each of our patients into a supportive environment. If you are seeking diagnosis or treatment for endometriosis, or if you are concerned about symptoms you are experiencing, our team at Essence Healthcare are here to help.

    Contact our Melbourne clinic to speak to us about your symptoms and gain appropriate guidance for your condition.