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What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common disease that affects over 5 million menstrual women in North America alone. This article reviews information on endometriosis causes and symptoms, endometriosis and its potential relationship with ovarian cancer and endometriosis treatments.

Endometriosis Causes and Growth

The disease is caused when the endometrial cells that travel from the uterus into the abdomen during your period attach themselves to parts of the body around the abdomen and the hip joint, rather than being cleared out as normal. It is not known exactly why some women's bodies are ineffective at dispelling these cells but reasons postulated include genetic and immune system factors as well as failure to achieve a pregnancy.

The misplaced endometrial cells develop into growths or lesions and respond to your period in the same way as equivalent cells in the uterus but the resulting blood has no way of leaving the body. The internal bleeding leads to various complications which manifest themselves as the symptoms of the disease, and are particularly strongly during your period.

It is not proven whether infertility is a direct cause of endometriosis, although many women suffering infertility problems are also diagnosed with the disease. In such instances, treatment of endometriosis does not improve fertility. Women wanting to become fertile should follow normal treatments for infertility.

Endometriosis Symptoms

Diagnosis of endometriosis requires a biopsy, which involves surgery. It is important for you to be aware of its symptoms, the most common being:

  • Heightened pre-menstrual syndrome
  • Pelvic tenderness
  • Hip joint pain or pain radiating from the buttock and down the leg
  • Intense pain during periods
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • Constipation or diarrhea
  • Painful urination
  • Chronic fatigue
  • Cramping
  • Endometriosis and Ovarian Cancer

    Endometriosis is not ovarian cancer, but research suggests that women who have had the disease have a 30 percent higher risk of developing ovarian cancer than others. However, some factors that lower the risk for women in general also apply to endometriosis sufferers – for instance, the risk is lowered among those who have never used oral contraceptives.

    Endometriosis Treatments

    Treatments available for endometriosis are as varied as its symptoms. You need to evaluate available treatments against your symptoms carefully as many have side effects such as premature menopause. A laparoscopy (not a very invasive technique) is often done in the hope of destroying or removing the cells causing endometriosis hip joint pain.

    Many women simply opt for the alleviation of symptoms with painkillers. Other palliative treatments such as dietary control and acupuncture can also be highly effective in combating symptoms.

    Endometriosis support groups exist worldwide (see They are invaluable in providing a forum for the discussion of your own particular symptoms with fellow sufferers, and they can also provide assistance in the evaluation of options for treatment.

    By Alex Tours

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