Endometriosis: causes, symptoms and effective treatment options


Das Wichtigste vorab

  • Endometriosis is a common condition that affects the lives of millions of women* worldwide. Despite its prevalence, it often goes undiagnosed and inadequately treated.
  • This blog post will highlight the causes, symptoms and effective treatment options for endometriosis to help sufferers better understand the condition and find appropriate support.
  • Lifestyle changes, self-help measures, and hope for future advances in research are also discussed.

Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition that affects the lives of millions of women* worldwide. Despite its prevalence, endometriosis often goes undiagnosed and inadequately treated. In this blog post, we will highlight the causes, symptoms, and effective treatment options for endometriosis to help affected women* better understand the condition and find appropriate support.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic condition in which tissue resembling the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This abnormal tissue can settle on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, peritoneum, or other organs in the pelvic area. During a menstrual period, this tissue, like the lining of the uterus, responds to hormonal changes and bleeds. Since the blood cannot drain out of the body as it does during menstruation, inflammation, adhesions and scarring occur.

Causes of endometriosis

The exact causes of endometriosis are not yet fully understood. However, there are several theories that may play a role in the development of the disease. One is retrograde menstruation, in which menstrual blood flows through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity in the opposite direction from normal, causing endometrial tissue to settle elsewhere. Hormonal and genetic factors and the immune system may also play a role.

Symptoms of endometriosis

Symptoms of endometriosis can vary greatly from woman* to woman*. The most common symptoms include:

  • Severe menstrual pain (dysmenorrhea): Women* with endometriosis often experience intense pain during their menstrual periods.

  • Pain during sexual intercourse (dyspareunia): Sexual intercourse can be painful and cause discomfort.

  • Chronic pelvic pain: women* with endometriosis may also suffer from persistent pelvic pain outside of menstruation.

  • Fertility problems: endometriosis can cause difficulty conceiving and affect fertility.

It is important to note that some women* with endometriosis may have no symptoms or only mild symptoms. Therefore, the condition often goes undiagnosed.

Diagnosis of endometriosis

Diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging because symptoms can be confused with other conditions. To make an accurate diagnosis, the gynecologist will take a thorough history and perform several diagnostic procedures, including:

Physical exam: The health care provider may palpate the abdomen to identify abnormalities or indurations that may indicate endometriosis.

Ultrasound: a transvaginal ultrasound may be used to identify signs of endometriosis, such as cysts or adhesions.

Laparoscopy: This more invasive procedure allows the health care provider to examine the pelvis with a tiny camera. During laparoscopy, tissue samples can be taken and endometriosis lesions removed or ablated.

Accurate diagnosis of endometriosis is important to provide appropriate treatment and avoid potential complications.

Treatment options for endometriosis

Treatment for endometriosis aims to relieve pain, preserve fertility and improve the quality of life for affected women*. There are several treatment options that may be recommended depending on the severity of the disease and the individual needs of the patient.

1. Drug therapy: painkillers such as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) can be used to relieve menstrual pain. Hormonal therapies such as hormonal contraceptives, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists, or progestins can help control the growth of endometrial tissue and reduce pain.

2. surgical interventions: Surgery may be needed for advanced endometriosis. During surgery, the abnormal areas of tissue are removed or ablated to relieve pain and improve fertility. In some cases, complete removal of the uterus (hysterectomy) may be required.

3. Alternative and complementary therapies: Some women* also seek alternative or complementary treatments such as acupuncture, homeopathy, or special diets. It is important to look critically at these approaches and discuss them with a healthcare professional, as their effectiveness has not been sufficiently scientifically proven.

Lifestyle changes and self-help

In addition to medical treatment, certain lifestyle changes can help relieve symptoms and improve overall well-being.

These include:

Eating a balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and healthy fats.

Regular exercise and physical activity to promote circulation and relieve pain.

Stress management techniques such as relaxation exercises, meditation or yoga to reduce stress levels.

Getting enough sleep and rest to regenerate the body and strengthen the immune system.

Seeking support: Talking with other affected women* in support groups or attending psychological counseling can help deal with the emotional challenges and find support.

Outlook and research

Research on endometriosis has progressed in recent years, and there is hope for improved diagnostic methods and treatment strategies. New technologies such as artificial intelligence and genetic research could help improve diagnosis and develop personalized treatment approaches.

It is important that affected women* seek professional help early and talk to their health care provider about their symptoms and treatment options. Timely diagnosis and appropriate treatment can help alleviate symptoms, preserve fertility and improve quality of life.

Medically Reviewed

Dieser Text wurde auf Basis von medizinischer Fachliteratur und aktuellen Studien von Medizinredakteur:innen erstellt. Unser Anspruch ist es, wissenschaftlich zu arbeiten, Quellen kenntlich zu machen und die Inhalte regelmäßig auf ihre Aktualität zu prüfen.

Referenzen & Literatur

  1. Imboden, S., and M. D. Mueller. "Lebensqualität bei Patientinnen mit Endometriose." Gynäkologische Endokrinologie 16.2 (2018): 76-79.
  2. Tu, F.F., H. Du, G. P. Goldstein, J. L. Beaumont, Y. Zhou, and W. J.Brown. 2014. The influence of prior oral contraceptive use on risk of endometriosis is conditional on parity. Fertility and Sterility 101(6): 1697-1704.