The number of cases of endometriosis seems to be on the rise currently. Interestingly, women are getting more vocal these days and there is an increasing awareness towards it.
Instead of considering it as a taboo, they are coming out and getting it diagnosed, as this could be one of the major reasons why we are seeing a rise in the number.
As this condition occurs in women mostly in the prime of their age, it may affect their ability to get pregnant.
Interestingly though, girls as young as 16 years of age are now presenting with advanced stage of endometriosis to the specialists.
Endometriosis is a painful gynaecological disorder that affects millions of women across the world.
It is a condition in which the tissue lining the inside of the womb, called the 'Endometrium', begins to grow outside the uterus.
It is an oestrogen-dependent disorder and just like in the menstrual cycle, the tissue that grows every month sheds off in the form of menstrual blood.
This ectopic tissue unfortunately does not have a way out, so it tends to grow in these areas causing lumps or cysts that may be very painful.
It tends to grow silently and, in some cases, it comes without any pain.
It is therefore often called the "silent disease" because many women may not experience any symptoms and, therefore, the disease may remain undiagnosed for a long time, unless the woman undergoes specific gynaecological tests for some other problem (e.g., infertility or a routine Master Health check).
Also Read: Reason For Painful Periods
Some women present with pelvic pain, which could occur through the month, which may be severe, and the pain could increase during their periods.
Few others get pain in the legs and calf muscles. There may also be pain during bowel movement and while passing urine.
There could also be blood in the stools in some cases. Some women may find intercourse or sex very painful as well.
Since pain experienced by women who have endometriosis is similar to that of menstrual pain, it tends to get ignored.
Therefore, treatment is typically delayed and majority of the affected women in India come to hospitals in an advanced stage of endometriosis.
For initial diagnosis, the doctors recommend an ultrasound scan of the pelvic area. Yet laparoscopy is considered as the "Gold Standard" in diagnosing this condition.
The major cause of concern is that there is no permanent cure for endometriosis.
However, if accurately diagnosed at the right time, the disease can be managed with various treatment modalities such as painkillers, hormone therapy, laparoscopic surgery and hysterectomy.
MD degree in Reproductive Medicine from the University of Leeds (UK)
Dr. Manisha is currently working as a consultant Gynaecologist and Subspecialist in Reproductive Medicine and Surgery at the Fortis Hospitals, Bangalore.