What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is the condition whereby the same type of tissue that lines the womb (the endometrium) grows in other areas of the body such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, bowel, vagina or rectum.
Why does is develop?
In a normal menstrual cycle, the cells in the endometrium thicken ready to receive a fertilised egg; this is then shed as a period when a pregnancy does not occur. The same thickening and swelling also occurs within endometrium tissue that has built up outside the womb, except that in this instance the body has no way of shedding it. As such, the abnormal tissue keeps on growing, causing painful adhesions and damage to the pelvic organs which in turn can lead to fertility problems.
Endometriosis is estimated to affect approximately two million women in the UK. It is seen most frequently in women between the ages of 25 and 40 and is more common amongst Asian women than Caucasian or Afro Caribbean women.
Research also points to the hereditary nature of the disease as well as to other causes such as immune disfunction.
What are the symptoms?
Sometimes there are no symptoms. Alternatively, women can experience signs such as:
- abnormal periods,
- abdominal, pelvic or back pain,
- discomfort during or after sexual intercourse,
- pain when going to the toilet
- fertility problems.
It is important to note that the severity of the symptoms is not necessarily proportionate to how serious the condition is; the smallest amount of endometriosis can cause severe pain.
The four stages
There are four stages of Endometriosis:
Stage 1 is when the disease is minimal. There are very few lesions and no scar tissue at this stage
Stage 2 is mild but there is the development of some scar tissue and deeper lesions in the pelvis or abdomen.
Stage 3 is moderate disease. In addition to the lesions, there may be cysts of the ovaries and thicker scar tissue and adhesions which can cause pain.
Stage 4 is severe disease and is accompanied with deep implants of disease, thick adhesions and large cysts on one or both ovaries. Bowel and bladder can also be involved
How Mr Broome can help?
Unfortunately endometriosis is often overlooked as a cause of pelvic pain, abnormal periods or subfertility. Pelvic scans (ultrasound or MRI) do not always pick up endometriosis and often a laparoscopy is needed to make the diagnosis.
Mr Broome can examine you and discuss you medical history to create a plan of care going forward. As well as managing the condition medically, he can also offer surgical treatments to diagnose and remove endometriosis, scarring and adhesions.
If you need any advice or would like to make an appointment, please contact us.