One in 10 women are affected by endometriosis.
The two main problems that endometriosis can cause are:
The female reproductive system is made up of the following parts:
The uterus is made up of three layers. The innermost layer is called the endometrium, the second layer, myometrium and the third layer, the serosa. Every month, the endometrial layer is built and thickens in preparation to accept the fertilised egg for implantation and provide nourishment to the growing embryo, until birth. If the egg does not get fertilised, the layer of tissue that is formed sloughs off and passes out in the form of your monthly period.
Although the exact cause is not certain, your endometriosis specialist in Melbourne may offer the following explanations:
Some of the common factors that could increase your risk of developing endometriosis are:
The symptoms of endometriosis vary widely from woman to woman and the severity of symptoms is not necessarily related to the severity of the condition. While some women have few or no symptoms, others experience severe and incapacitating pain that recurs each month for many years. Your endometriosis specialist in Melbourne will help characterise the following symptoms:
Many women think that painful periods are normal. If you have bad period pain, you should see your local endometriosis specialist in Melbourne, Dr. Alex Polyakov. The anticipation of recurrent pain or discomfort each month may also lead to feelings of anxiety, stress and depression. It is important to acknowledge these emotional difficulties that may arise from endometriosis.
Endometriosis can be associated with infertility and ovarian cancer.
There are four stages (stage I to IV) of endometriosis based on the location, size, depth and extent of its implantation into the foreign tissue, presence of scar tissue and its severity, and the presence and size of endometrial tissue in the ovaries. The stages do not determine the extent of pain or other symptoms, or chances of infertility.
Superficial implantation with mild scarring is classified under minimal or mild stage. Moderate and severe forms of endometriosis are characterised by cysts and severe scarring. Stage IV endometriosis is characterised by infertility.
When you present to your doctor’s clinic with severe pelvic pain, your medical history is reviewed and a thorough physical examination performed. Your endometriosis specialist in Melbourne will likely order an ultrasound or transvaginal ultrasound to view the reproductive organs for cysts.
The standard diagnosis for endometriosis is a laparoscopic procedure, where a lighted tube called a laparoscope is inserted into your pelvic region through your belly button. The images captured by the camera on the laparoscope are relayed on a big screen for your doctor to see clearly. A biopsy or a sample of the suspected tissue is removed for further examination and confirmation of endometriosis.
Diagnosis with the laparoscopy may not be required in most cases. Your endometriosis specialist in Melbourne may suspect endometriosis just by your symptoms, a physical exam and an ultrasound. If you do not intend to get pregnant immediately, you can discuss the need for an invasive procedure such as laparoscopy surgery.