Endometriosis: notions to better understand it

12% of patients at a reproductive age could suffer from endometriosis

Endometriosis is a gynecological disease that touches around 1 woman out of 10. Linked to the growth of the endometrial tissue outside the uterus (womb) and can touch other surrounding organs such as ovaries, ligaments, rectum, bladder, vagina.

What are the symptoms?
 

Even though the disease can be asymptomatic, some symptoms can affect the patient’s life in a more or less severe way:

  • Painful period (dysmenorrhea)
  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Infertility
  • Digestive and urinary disorders

Long ignored by physicians, the delay for the diagnosis is very long: 6 to 12 years on average, which enables the patients to have the medical support needed to improve their quality of life.

What are the different types of endometriosis?
 

Superficial peritoneal endometriosis

It is a superficial endometriosis located in the peritoneal zone, with no deep damages. The evolution of the lesions remains quite uncertain but it is very unlikely to see a severe evolution.

Endometrioma

Endometrioma or ovarian cyst can reach one or both ovaries. The adhesion between the uterine tube and the ovaries are responsible of the patient’s pain and infertility. Endometriosic cyst (or endometrioma) are often linked to a multi and severe endometriosis.

Deeply infiltrating endometriosis (DIE)

We talk about a DIE when lesions are at least 5 mm under the peritoneum area. They can touch different organs such as: digestive tube, the vagina, ureter… and causes functioning malfunction. We don’t know its evolution.

Adenomyosis

Adenomyosis is an endometriosis called “inner” to the uterus. It is characterized by the endometrioma cells infiltrating the uterine wall muscle (myometrium). The patient’s uterus can become bigger, more painful and create heavy menstruation bleeding.

Pain in endometriosis: The symptom that leads to a medical consult!

Endometriosis can cause very string pains (pelvic, during the menstruation, during sexual intercourse…) and because they are so debilitating, they can make the patients take very strong painkillers.

This recurrent pains will lead to a hypersensitization phenomenon (malfunction of the central nervous system) and a neuronal hyper excitability which is responsible for an amplification of the painful message and sensory hypersensitivity.

These mechanisms combined can cause a very painful and complex syndrome.

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