April 6, 2019 Cathryn

Understanding Endometriosis

Say no to ENDO……

It is estimated that 176 million women worldwide are affected with Endometriosis, a debilitating condition that can play havoc with mood, hormones, libido, pain, energy levels and infertility.

On average it can take 12 years from the onset of symptoms to a definitive diagnosis and then even longer to address and treat the underlying causes.

This in turn may lead to the condition worsening as endometrial like cells proliferate, invade and implant elsewhere in the body.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is an estrogen- dependent, benign, inflammatory disease where endometrial like tissue grows outside of the uterine cavity. The peak prevalence of endometriosis occurs in women 25-35 years of age. However the disease has been reported in younger girls whom have not commenced menstruation, postmenopausal women and even men [1-4].

Where is Endometriosis found?

Histological reports have found endometrial lesions in the following areas of the body

• Reproductive organs
• Gastrointestinal region
• breasts
• Kidney & adrenal glands
• Urinary tract
• Spinal column
• peripheral and central nervous system
• Chest cavity (lungs and around the heart)
• Prostate [5-6]

Symptoms of endometriosis?

The symptoms of endometriosis are different for everyone, the pattern of your pain can often indicate the location of your endometriosis and thus help with treatment options. Although some women have no or minimal symptoms it is still important to have the correct diagnosis to best support your hormones.

1. Pain
2. Infertility
3. Bowel issues such as IBS
4. Bladder problems such as recurring UTI’s
5. Heavy menstrual bleeding
6. Endometrioma (ovarian mass)
7. Chronic fatigue symptoms
8. Emotional disturbances

What Causes Endometriosis?

The cause of endometriosis remains uncertain but appears to be multifactorial. A number of theories have been postulated for further research such as the Sampson theory, Coelomic Metaplasia theory, embryonic rest theory and lymphovascular metastasis theory. Other causes may include one or more of the following [4,7,8].

1. Genetic Factors
2. Immune dysfunction
3. Hormonal imbalance
4. Abnormal endocrine signalling
5. Imbalanced cell proliferation
6. Sampson theory of retrograde menstruation
7. Lymphatic dissemination
8. Infectious or environmental triggers
9. Oxidative stress
10. Inflammation
11. Alterations in the gut microbiota
12. Liver damage
13. Long term hormonal therapy

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

The only way to be 100% certain of the diagnosis is to have a laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure where a thin telescope is placed into your belly button to allow your gynaecologist to see inside and assess the organs of your pelvis and abdomen whilst taking a biopsy (tissue sample) for diagnosis.

As the cause of endometriosis is multifactorial the treatment approach should be the same to address all facets of the disease and its many causes. Over the years working both in the medical and complementary medicine worlds an integrative approach with the commitment to make the necessary changes and adjustments is required to achieve the best outcome.

Want to learn more or find out how we may be able to assist with symptoms associated with endometriosis contact us or book online.

 

 

References:
1 Pinkert TC, Catlow CE, Straus R. Endometriosis of the urinary bladder in a man with prostatic carcinoma. Cancer. 1979;43:1562–7.

2. Fukunaga M. Paratesticular endometriosis in a man with a prolonged hormonal therapy for prostatic carcinoma. Pathol Res Pract. 2012;208:59–61.

3. Simsek G, Bulus H, Tas A, Koklu S, Yilmaz SB, Coskun A. An unusual cause of inguinal hernia in a male patient: Endometriosis. Gut Liver. 2012;6:284–5.

4. Schenken, R, Barbieri, R, Eckler, K 2019, Endometriosis: Pathogenesis, clinical features, and diagnosis, Up to date 2019.

5.Gustofson RL, Kim N, Liu S, Stratton P. Endometriosis and the appendix: a case series and comprehensive review of the literature. Fertil Steril 2006; 86:298.

6. Jenkins S, Olive DL, Haney AF. Endometriosis: pathogenetic implications of the anatomic distribution. Obstet Gynecol 1986; 67:335.

7. Lasmar, Ricardo Bassil, Lasmar, Bernardo Portugal, & Pillar, Claudia. (2012). Diagram to map the locations of endometriosis. International Journal of Gynecology & Obstetrics, 118(1), 42-46.

8. Sourial, Tempest, Hapangama 2014, Theories on the pathogeneses of endometriosis International journal of reproductive medicine 2014.

9. Xu, Wenli, Li, Ahao, Bu, Song 2017, Effects of acupuncture for the treatment of endometriosis-related pain: A systematic review and meta-analysis, PLoS One. 2017.