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Endometriosis is a common diagnosis for ACRM patients. To help our patients better understand what this might mean for them, Dr. Long clarifies the clinical aspects of the condition below:
What causes endometriosis?
Dr Long explains that, “Endometriosis is thought to be caused by retrograde menstruation. Cells within the menstrual flow can set up micrographs behind the uterus, on the ovaries, and on the fallopian tubes causing cytotoxic reactions and even leading to adhesive bands that restrict the fallopian tube from having complete access to the ovaries on either side.”
What does that mean for me?
This means that the endometrium, the lining within your uterus, is growing outside the uterus. When you go through a normal menstrual cycle, this lining breaks down and is removed from your body. However, with endometriosis this cleansing process cannot happen as intended leading to potential complications.
What are the symptoms?
Dr. Long lists the potential symptomology of the condition to include “cyclic pelvic pain which occurs around the time of menstruation [dysmenorrhea]” or “pelvic pain throughout the menstrual cycle.” He says some people experience “painful intercourse [dyspareunia]. However, sometimes the only symptom of endometriosis is simply the inability to conceive.”
How do I know if I have endometriosis?
Some ways endometriosis may be diagnosed is through pelvic, ultrasound, and laparoscopic exams. The symptoms above are often indicative of endometriosis, but they could be linked to other pelvic or reproductive problems.
How could endometriosis affect fertility?
Endometriosis manifests itself differently in every patient. However, a diagnosis for endometriosis is often associated with trouble conceiving. Dr. Long says, “Endometriosis causes immunologic type reactions similar to having a foreign body in your skin like a splinter. So, over time, the body tries to corral and get rid of the “splinter.” Similar reactions occur regarding endometriosis because these cells are not supposed to be in body. These immunologic hemotoxic reactions can affect the sperm, the egg, or the embryo.”
What should I do?
If you think you may have endometriosis or want to talk to a doctor about your diagnosis, we recommend you make an appointment to see one of our practitioners. ACRM would love to serve you and help you in your journey with endometriosis.