Patients with endometriosis have glands or stroma in ectopic locations. This condition occurs in about 6-10% of females of reproductive age, and it accounts for several pathologies associated with menstruation, abdominal pain, and infertility. At MyDoc Women’s Health Specialists, patients with endometriosis in Boynton Beach get the quality care that will relieve the symptoms of their condition. To better understand endometriosis, you need to understand the physiology of the endometrium.
The Endometrial Tissue Layers
- The striatum functionalis- The layer that sheds off during menstruation.
- The Striatum basalis- The innermost layer that stays consistent during menstruation.
Endometriosis involves striatum functionalis cells being outside of the typical endometrium. Some of the areas where these cells travel or begin to grow to include the pelvic perineum, fallopian tube, retro-vaginal septum, or ovaries. It is important to note that although the areas mentioned above are the most common for the implantation of endometrial tissues, the cells may also be found in the abdominal peritoneum.
Pathogenesis of Endometriosis
There are two common theories on how endometriosis occurs:
- Non-uterine theories
These theories suggest that non-uterine tissue transforms into endometrial tissue through external stimuli. Alternatively, tissues that have traveled from somewhere else will enter, say the peritoneum, and turn into endometrial tissue. An example of the non-uterine theory is the bone marrow migration theory. A bone marrow cell will migrate through the bloodstream to the endometrium or fallopian tube and differentiate into endometrial tissue. Another example is estrogen stimulation theory which suggests that estrogen stimulation in the fallopian tube cells will differentiate into endometrial cells. Therefore, excessive stimulation by estrogen may potentially lead to endometriosis.
- Uterine theories
These theories suggest that the spread of endometriosis comes from uterine origins, for example:
- Hematogenic spread is through the blood.
- Lymphatic spread through the lymph.
- Retrograde menstruation through patent fallopian tubes.
The endometrial cells will then travel through the mentioned body fluids and allocate themselves to different areas of the body. Alternatively, in retrograde menstruation, the cells move backward through fallopian tubes and outwards to the ovaries.
Signs and Symptoms Associated with Endometriosis
- Dysmenorrhea: This symptom is also known as painful menstruation. Patients feel as though there are cramping and pulling sensations during periods.
- Dyspareunia: In other words, patients complain of experiencing pain during sexual intercourse.
- Chronic pelvic pain: This symptom is commonly associated with adhesions due to scar tissue formation during advanced endometriosis. As a result, the patient will experience sharp, pulling, or stabbing pain which requires a surgical fix.
- Irregular menstruation or uterine bleeding: Patients report spotting or irregular periods, usually just the shedding of endometriosis from alternative areas leading to this irregular bleeding.
- Infertility: Patients who do manage to conceive are at higher risk of developing ectopic pregnancies.
- Pain with bowel movement or urination: This symptom is also related to the adhesions that form during endometriosis.
Book a session at MyDoc Women’s Specialists to evaluate whether the symptoms you are experiencing are due to endometriosis and begin treatment as soon as possible.