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In Good Health // Endometriosis, the medical view


Learn more about endometriosis

As March continues, worldwide millions observe Endometriosis Awareness Month in recognition of the estimated 176 million women suffering from the disease. It's a largely hidden disease, but one that really impacts the lives of so many women across the globe. We need to talk about it more and we need to understand it more.


This month our friends at Medcare help us learn more and raise awareness on this important women's health topic.


Let's begin with some background from Endometriosis expert Dr. Shiva Harikrishnan Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Master Surgeon of Endometriosis Care at Medcare Women & Children Hospital, Dubai.



  • What is Endometriosis?


A woman's uterus is lined with endometrial tissue. With each menstrual cycle, a woman's body produces new endometrium in preparation for a fertilized egg. Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue develops outside of the uterus. Endometriosis affects around 10% of reproductive women and adolescents aged 15 to 44. It is most commonly found on or around reproductive organs in the pelvis or abdomen, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the exterior surface of the uterus. It can also grow on and around the bladder, intestines, and cervix, though this is less common. Endometrial tissue in these areas does not shed during the menstrual cycle, like the healthy endometrial tissue inside the uterus does and when this tissue lingers on, it causes a condition called endometriosis. The growth of aberrant tissue outside the uterus can cause inflammation, scarring, and painful cysts. It can also result in the formation of fibrous tissues between reproductive organs, causing them to "stick" together.

 

  • What are the symptoms of endometriosis?


The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which is often linked to menstrual periods. Although many women experience cramps during their cycles every month, those with endometriosis typically experience significantly severe menstrual pain than normal. The pain may worsen over time. Other symptoms include painful bowel movements, heavy bleeding, infertility, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and nausea. Some women with endometriosis exhibit no symptoms at all. They often discover they have the problem when they are unable to conceive naturally or after undergoing a medical procedure for another reason.

 

  • Can endometriosis be prevented?


Although there is no way to completely prevent endometriosis, you may be able to reduce your risk and manage your symptoms if you do develop the condition. Some of the techniques to prevent endometriosis are:


-        Using birth control medicines to lower estrogen levels.

-        Engaging in at least 30 minutes of daily exercise to boost the production of "good estrogen."

-        Reducing caffeine consumption.

-        Consuming more citrus fruits

-        Breastfeeding can significantly reduce endometriosis risk for nursing women.

 

 

Dr. Charles Nagy Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Master Surgeon of Endometriosis Care, Medcare Women & Children Hospital, Dubai, continues:


  • Do hereditary and genetics play a part in women having endometriosis?


According to studies, women are more likely to develop endometriosis if they:


-        Have a mother, sister, or daughter who has had the condition,

-        If they began menstruating at a young age (before the age of 11)

-        Have short monthly cycles (less than 27 days)

-        Have heavy menstrual periods that last more than 7 days

-        Are infertile.


Some studies also suggest that having a lean body mass or low body fat increases a woman's likelihood of developing endometriosis.


  • How commonly are women in the UAE diagnosed with Endometriosis nowadays?


Endometriosis affects one in every ten women, and many women who experience chronic pelvic pain are diagnosed with it. Endometriosis was diagnosed in approximately 12.9% of women in the Middle East in 2021.

 

  • How can you be diagnosed for endometriosis?


Endometriosis can be an undetected condition that is difficult to identify. Medcare Women & Children Hospital has the privilege to be a Centre of Excellence for Endometriosis, providing over 90% accurate early diagnosis and treatment administered by a multidisciplinary team specializing in endometriosis. Women suffering from endometriosis can experience varied degrees of discomfort. A lot depends on the severity of the pain and the patient's tolerance for pain. Greater discomfort and suffering are caused by deeper endometrial implants in locations with higher nerve density. If you experience painful, heavy, or frequent periods, it's a good idea to see a gynecologist. Similarly, chronic lower back pain and pain during intercourse should be investigated to rule out ovarian cysts or endometriosis. It is a good idea to see a gynaecologist if you have been trying to conceive for a few years but have not been naturally pregnant, as endometriosis is also linked to infertility and problems conceiving.

 

  • Can women conceive if they have been diagnosed with endometriosis?


Endometriosis does not always result in infertility, although there is a link, however the cause is uncertain. Natural pregnancy is still possible despite severe endometriosis. It is thought that 60-70% of those with endometriosis can become pregnant spontaneously.


Dr. Shiva Harikrishnan Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Master Surgeon of Endometriosis Care at Medcare Women & Children Hospital, Dubai, UAE.


Dr. Charles Nagy Consultant Obstetrician & Gynaecologist and Master Surgeon of Endometriosis Care, Medcare Women & Children Hospital, Dubai, UAE

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