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Endometriosis

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus (endometrial implant). The function of the endometrium is to support the zygote after fertilization, allowing its implantation.

Each month, , a woman's ovaries produce hormones that tell the cells lining the uterus to swell and get thicker. Your uterus sheds these cells along with blood and tissue through your vagina when you have your period.

Endometriosis occurs when these cells grow outside the uterus in other parts of your body. This tissue may attach on your ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder, the lining of the pelvic area or other parts of the body.

These growths stay in your body. They do not shed when you have your period. But, like the cells in your uterus, these growths react to the hormones from your ovaries. They grow and bleed when you get your period. Over time, the growths may add more tissue and blood. The buildup of blood and tissue in your body leads to inflammation, pain, scarring and other symptoms.

Endometriosis is a chronic illness. No one knows what causes it although a genetic predisposition has been proven to exist. An estimated 7 – 15% of women in fertile age are affected by endometriosis.

Symptoms

Although some women may have no symptoms, in general the symptoms are more intense during the menstrual period. Patients usually complain of colic, abdominal or back pain during or after sex, pain when urinating or having a bowel movement, hemorrhages and infertility problems.

Endometriosis is estrogen dependent; the symptoms improve after menopause and during pregnancy.

Prevention

As the cause of endometriosis is unknown, it cannot be prevented. It is a common illness and, at times, could be hereditary. Endometriosis probably begins to develop when a women begins to menstruate. However, it is generally not diagnosed until she reaches age 25 -35.

A woman has more probability of having endometriosis if:

  • She has a mother or sister or aunt with the illness
  • She began menstruation at an early age
  • She has never given birth
  • She has frequent menstrual periods or periods that last 7 days or more
  • She has a medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body

Gene or region studied

  • ESR1
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