HYDERABAD: Endometriosis is a painful gynecological disorder that occurs in women. In this condition, the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside the uterus on the surfaces of organs in the pelvic and abdominal areas.
The displaced endometrial tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit the body, it is trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. The condition is known to cause pain, often severe, especially during the menstrual cycle. Tissues surrounding the area of endometriosis may become inflamed or swollen, leading to the development of scar tissue. Apart from painful periods, it can often affect a woman’s ability to conceive, hence causing both physical and emotional trauma.
Research also shows that the disease accounts for a significant loss of productivity of young working women. According to the Endometriosis Society of India, an estimated 25 million women in the country suffer from the condition and this number is increasing every year.
“Unfortunately, the disease is often diagnosed very late or misdiagnosed, thus delaying treatment. Endometriosis can start as early as a girl’s first period and affect her till she reaches menopause. The biggest challenge in the battle against endometriosis is the lack of awareness and the failure of women to report it on time. The disease is also often misdiagnosed as ovarian cysts or irritable bowel syndrome, so going to a well-equipped centre that will make an accurate diagnosis is necessary,” said Dr Manisha Singh, consultant gynaecologist and infertility specialist at Fortis Hospitals.
“Women endure painful periods for years, and this can lead to serious complications. Severe endometriosis with extensive scarring and organ damage may affect fertility. It is considered to be one of the three major causes of female infertility. If a woman has been experiencing menstrual cramps or pain in the back and pelvic region or is unable to conceive, it is imperative to seek help. Endometriosis does not have a cure but can be managed effectively with medications, surgery or hormone therapy,” says Dr Anu Sridhar, consultant gynaecologist, Fortis Hospitals.