In the medical world, there has been a great deal of controversy as to whether or not Endometriosis is an autoimmune disorder, or the result of another autoimmune disease, such as Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis.
Endometriosis is a painful condition. Cells that are normally found in the uterine lining, start to appear in other areas of the body. It is still unclear as to how these cells made it to other areas of the body.
The immune system targets these cells and wages an attack on them, thinking that these cells are foreign. On the flipside, scientists also believe that the immune system may not acknowledge these misplaced cells. This will allow the cells to continue their journey throughout the body, causing damage to various organs.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
-Heavy menstrual periods
-Lower back pain
-Pain during sexual intercourse
How is Endometriosis diagnosed?
Your doctor will conduct a physical examination. In some cases, doctors may conduct a recto-vaginal exam (one finger in the rectum, one finger in the vagina) in order to feel for nodules behind the pelvic wall and uterus. Your doctor may order an ultrasound to rule out other diseases associated with endometriosis.
While these exams can be somewhat helpful in ruling out other illnesses, the only definitive way to diagnose Endometriosis is with surgery. Laparoscopy is the most common surgery used as a diagnostic. During this surgery, your doctor will take biopsies and test them for Endometriosis.
How is Endometriosis treated?
-Oral contraceptive pills
Surgery may be required symptoms are severe, and all other forms of treatment have failed.
Endometriosis is an emotionally and physically painful disease to live with. Some women suffer from infertility due to this illness. While it is important to treat the symptoms of the illness, it is also important to seek help from a therapist to help with the emotional distress. This goes for anyone dealing with an autoimmune disease or any other chronic illness. We can make our illnesses a smidge more manageable if we also keep our mental health in check.