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technology 25 Nov 2019

ENDOMETRIOSIS: All you need to know

By Waiswa Wafula

With March being Endometriosis Awareness month, it would be a good time to reflect on the disease that affects millions of women globally. Endometriosis is a disorder involving the growth of the inside lining of the uterus/womb (endometrial tissue) outside the uterus. It commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel and even the bladder.

The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which tends to increase over time. In endometriosis, the displaced tissue acts normally, thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. This often leads to the women experiencing far worse mental cramps than usual.

Other symptoms include

  • Pelvic pains and cramping which may begin before and extend several days into your periods.
  • Excessive bleeding during periods or bleeding between periods.
  • Pain with bowel movement and urination.
  • Pain with intercourse.
  • Diarrhoea, constipation, bloating and nausea.

Endometriosis can also lead to infertility and is most common for women in their 30 and 40 when fertility is naturally low. It can either damage the sperm or egg, or obstruct the fallopian tube preventing the sperm and egg from meeting.

Although the exact cause of Endometriosis is uncertain the several factors that contribute to its formation include genetic predisposition, environmental and immunological factors, reversal of menstrual flows and changes in the pelvic cavity lining.

It can be treated by surgery, medical and supportive therapy. Despite effective therapy, there is no cure for endometriosis. Regardless of the type of treatment it is estimated that one in five women will have a recurrence of symptoms within 5 years. Other treatment options include over the counter drugs (pain relivers), hormone therapy including birth control for women not trying to get pregnant, tropical oils and surgery. Warm baths and exercise can also help with monthly discomforts.