Overview

Endometriosis Is a chronic condition where tissue that behaves like the lining of the uterus is found in other parts of the body such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, bowel and others. It can rarely also affect the diaphragm and lungs.3

The root cause of the condition is still unknown.

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Symptoms vary in severity

From one woman to another and can be

  • Pain in lower abdomen or back (pelvic pain) - which is usually worse during menstrual period.
  • Pain during or after sex.
  • Pain when urinating or when moving bowels during menstrual period.
  • Feeling sick, constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in urine or stools during menstrual period.
  • Difficulty getting pregnant.
  • Feelings of anxiety and depression often accompany the other symptoms.
  • Inability to perform normal daily activities due to severe pain.
  • Rarely in the case of thoracic endometriosis, shortness of breath, chest or shoulder pain3

Endometriosis risk factors

There are several factors which could increase your chances of developing endometriosis6, such as:

What happens next?

Your doctor will ask you about your symptoms and you might undergo one or more tests such as:

  • Rectal examination
  • Vaginal examination
  • Ultrasound scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Diagnostic laparoscopy where a small tube with a camera are inserted through a small incision in the abdomen to observe the  pelvic space for any endometrial lesions

How is Endometriosis managed?

Your doctor will recommend one or more of the following options depending on your condition.

  • Painkillers - such as ibuprofen and paracetamol.
  • Hormones and contraceptives with an aim to stop your menses.
  • Surgery to remove the endometriotic lessions on the organs affected. If you have no desire of getting pregnant, your doctor might recommend a hysterectomy which is the removal of the uterus. In both cases minimally invasive or keyhole surgery is the preferred option.
  • If you are having difficulty getting pregnant because of endometriosis, IVF treatment (in-vitro fertilization) is often the best option.

Minimally Invasive Endometriosis Surgery

Minimally invasive endometriosis surgery is preferred over open surgery as it  offers significant benefits such as shorter recovery time, reduced cost and less complications.

Be sure to ask your surgeon about minimally invasive endometriosis surgery.

Open Surgery

In an open procedure, surgeons use a long incision so they can see into the body. But because this fairly large incision cuts through both the skin and muscles of the abdomen, patients can take several weeks — or months — to fully recover, and it is often painful.

Minimally Invasive Surgery

In minimally invasive surgery, surgeons use a laparoscope (a slender tube-like device with a camera), other specialized instruments, and several small incisions to view inside the abdominal cavity and remove the endometrial lesions. This ensures a faster recovery and fewer complications.7

Videos

  • 1. Rogers PAW et al. Priorities for Endometriosis Research: Recommendations From an International Consensus Workshop. Reprod Sci 2009;16:335 346. http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/1933719108330568 

  • 2. http://endometriosis.org/resources/articles/facts-about-endometriosis/ Adamson GD, et al. Creating solutions in endometriosis: global collaboration through the World Endometriosis Research Foundation. J of Endometriosis 2010;2(1):3-6.

  • 3. Camran Nezhat, e al.  Bilateral Thoracic Endometriosis Affecting the Lung and Diaphragm. JSLS. 2012 Jan-Mar; 16(1): 140–142.

  • 4. https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/endometriosis/symptoms-causes

  • 5. https://endometriosis-uk.org/causes-endometriosis#Lymphatic

  • 6. Peterson M et al, Risk factors associated with endometriosis. J Obstet Gynecol. 2013 June ; 208(6): 

  • 7. https://www.acog.org/Patients/FAQs/Laparoscopy?IsMobileSet=false#can

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