Painful periods; are they normal?

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April 1, 2011 – As we go about our everyday lives, there are some things that we have come to believe are normal and we deal with them and move on. Every month we go through painful periods, lower back and pelvic pain, sometimes constipation or diarrhea etc. These are symptoms that we expect every month and they seem to be normal but unfortunately they are not. This could be a sign of a medical disorder by the name of Endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a common medical disorder that affects women of reproductive age. This normally happens when the endometrial tissue that grows inside the uterus, grows outside the uterus. The tissue growth can occur in the pelvic area outside the uterus, bladder, rectum, bowel, fallopian tube and the lining of the pelvis.

What are the causes of Endometriosis?

Some researchers believe that the female blood carries endometrial cells to other parts of the body. Despite the fact that more and more women are becoming affected by endometriosis, there have been few studies done to come up with an exact cause of the problem.
One theory states that retrograde menstruation is the cause of endometriosis. Retrograde menstruation is when blood and tissue flows backwards during menstruation and goes through the fallopian tubes. The endometrial tissue than attaches itself to other parts of the body and continues to grow.
An impaired immune system is believed by some researchers to be a cause of endometriosis. This theory states that the body fails to destroy the endometrial tissue. Many researchers consider endometriosis to be an auto-immune disease and this theory may be the most realistic due to women developing other auto-immune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis, multiple sclerosis, and lupus, while also suffering from endometriosis.

Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
? Infertility
? Chronic pain in the lower back and pelvis
? Spotting between menstrual bleeding
? Diarrhea and/or constipation
? Pain during or after sex
? Very painful menstrual cramps

How is Endometriosis Diagnosis?
Endometriosis can be diagnosed by your gynecologist through pelvic exam, pelvic laparoscopy and a transvaginal ultrasound.

How is Endometriosis Treated?
There are a number of treatment options which depend on factors like age, severity of symptoms, extend of the disease and whether you would like to have children in the future. These options include:
? Medications to control pain. For pain relief, anti-inflammatory medication has to be taken before the pain begins as it blocks the production of prostaglandins that produce the pain.
? Pelviscopic surgery which is carried out to remove the endometriosis.
? In severe situations a hysterectomy may be required.
? Medications to stop the endometriosis from getting worse. Your gynecologist may prescribe hormonal medication which reduces the activity of the endometrial tissue.

Endometriosis sometimes runs in the family so a woman who has a mother or sister with endometriosis is more likely to develop it than other women. When it comes to our medical health, we should not assume so if you have the signs and symptoms above, visit your doctor and rule out the possibility of having the disorder especially is you have been trying for a baby unsuccessfully.

 

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