In normal circumstances, menstruation should not turn itself into a significant health problem. It always involves pelvic discomfort, mood swings, and other symptoms resulting from hormonal changes, but they should not last for a very long time or cause excruciating cramps, as in the case of endometriosis.
Menstruation problems are common and usually appear in young and senior women as their hormonal cycles start to change, adapting to their new stage of life. As such, they are a common reason for consultation in the emergency room and the private practice. In the case of endometriosis, as you will see in this article, it leads to a significant reduction in the quality of life, and patients are often admitted into the emergency room due to a very intense pain that requires intravenous medications to improve.
What you need to know about endometriosis
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which pain can be found outside of the uterus tissue that belongs to the internal lining of this organ.
This is also known as ectopic tissue, or in other words, tissue that is located in a place or surface where it does not belong anatomically. The problem with endometriosis is that the internal lining of the uterus undergoes many changes throughout the menstrual cycle of a woman. The inside of the uterus is capable of sustaining these changes without significant problems, but the same is not true with other areas of the body.
Thus, when the endometrium of the uterus (the normal endometrium) undergoes hormonal changes and grows thick, the same happens with this ectopic tissue. Similarly, when menstruation ensues, this ectopic tissue becomes severely inflamed and triggers a series of painful symptoms that may become unbearable and lead patients into the emergency room. This ectopic tissue is usually located in the pelvic region, usually in the ovaries, near the bladder, or in the bowel. The majority of women who are diagnosed with endometriosis have undergone previous uterine surgery, and in this situation, the endometrial tissue is likely to migrate to the outside of the uterus as a consequence of the surgery.
Signs and symptoms of endometriosis
The most important symptoms of endometriosis are as follows:
Medical treatments and home remedies for endometriosis
Medical treatment of endometriosis is complex, and decisions should be made according to each case. On one side, we have surgical treatment, which is a good way to provide short-term relief in cases of severe pain. This is usually performed after locating the areas where endometriosis is likely to be through ultrasound and other imaging techniques.
However, surgery might not be the solution for other patients with mild or moderate symptoms. Instead, there are two types of treatment available for them, and we can divide them into hormone therapy and pain medications.
However, in a patient who has endometriosis and infertility, additional treatments and in vitro fertilization may be prescribed to facilitate pregnancy. These cases are often difficult to treat, and a multidisciplinary team is likely to be involved in your treatment.
Home remedies are also available to alleviate endometriosis symptoms. However, keep in mind that these are not nearly as effective as medical treatments. Still, you can try a warm bath, warm compresses, supplements with turmeric or omega 3, a pelvic massage, and maintaining an anti-inflammatory diet consisting of fruits and vegetables and trying to avoid processed foods, dairy, and other foods that might trigger allergies or inflammatory reactions.