Endometriosis is a condition where tiny patches of endometrium (inner lining of the womb) occur in parts of your body other than your womb. Often this is your pelvis or lower abdomen (tummy), but it can also occur in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, cervix, vagina and other areas of the body.
Most women with endometriosis are usually diagnosed between the ages of 25 and 40
Symptoms vary from person to person with some people having no symptoms at all. However, the most common symptom is painful periods. (NB 80% of women experience some period pain, and not everyone has endometriosis)
With each period, the patches of endometrium go through the same sequence of changes that affect the womb lining. This includes the monthly casting-off of blood, mucus and surface tissue. Because the blood and other material produced often cannot escape, it can build up, causing pressure and pain.
Other symptoms may include painful sexual intercourse or pain when your bowels or bladder open.
Treatment for endometriosis is aimed at easing the symptoms. Treatments can include pain killers, hormone treatments and surgery. However, some people with mild symptoms decide not to take any treatment. In fact, many cases of endometriosis get better without treatment. If initial treatment is not successful, then a laparoscopy may be arranged.
During a laparoscopy, a special narrow telescope (a laparoscope) is passed into your body so the specialist can view the endometrial tissue and occasionally take a small sample (a biopsy) for laboratory testing, the endometriosis can also be burnt away during this operation.
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