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WHAT EXACTLY IS ENDOMETRIOSIS?

Mostly women of child bearing age are effected by it, although it can occur in women who have been through the menopause and have had a hyterectomy. The endometrium is the tissue lining the inner cavity of the womb. It was once thought to be the same as the endometrium which a woman sheds each month in the form of a period. We now know that there are differences.

Endometriosis is an endometrial like tissue located outside the uterus. It happens when small pieces of tissue from the inner lining of the womb become attached outside the womb to the bowel, bladder, falopian tubes and the lining of the abdomen. www.endometriosis.ie. The disease is abnormal tissue contaiing endometrial glands and stroma which secrete substances that irritate the surrounding tissue. The immune system responds by releasing inflammatory protens causing swelling and inflammation. It is one of the most common gynaecological diseases and can be difficult to diagnose for many women. Sometimes there are no painful symptoms and the condition is only discovered during fertility investigations.

WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS?

The number one symptom is pelvic pain, similar to menstrual pain but far worse.The other symptoms are:

Very painful, heavy and sometimes irregular periods.

Pain during or after sex

Pain with bowel movements

Tiredness

Cyclical blood in the urine

Fertility issues

You might also experience diarrhea, constipation or bloating.

WILL THIS EFFECT MY FERTILITY?

It is one of the leading causes of infertility. However, it is estimated that up to 70% of women with the condition will be able to conceive.

WHAT TREATMENT IS AVAILABLE?

There are treatments available to mange the condition but there is currently no cure; Ibuprofen, hormonal treatment and surgery. Surgery offers a good opportunity to have a pain free life and remove all of the tissue in the affected areas. Acupuncture is often used to treat endometriosis as it balances hormones.

Research carried out in Tongji University Hospital China, comparing drug therapy with acupuncture, found acupuncture was more effective than hormone drug therapy. The findings demonstrated that acupuncture relieved menstrual pain and reduced the size of pelvic masses and also reduced the recurence rate. Clinical Observation of Acupunctute -moxibustion for Endometriosis, Shanghai Journal of Moxibustion , 2017.https://www.lizacupuncture.ie/acupuncture-for-fertility/.

A recent study at the Universities of Warwick and Edinburgh, found the cause of endometriosis pain to be a type of white blood cell called macrophages that have undergone changes due to the condition. Senior study author Dr Erin Greaves stated that “we’re trying to find non-hormonal solutions”. It is understood that this new study was to determine “the mechanistic role of macrophages in producing pain associated with endometriosis.” And it is hoped that this will pave the way to non-hormonal treatments. http://www.medicalnewstoday.com