What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common but still largely underestimated disease that affects about 10% of women of childbearing age. It is a benign and complex gynecological condition that can begin with the first menstrual period and its symptoms do not stop until the menopause.
It is a disease in which cells of the uterine mucous membrane "endometrium", implant themselves outside their usual place in the uterus, either in the myometrium (uterine muscle, we speak then ofadenomyosis) or out of the uterus (one speaks then about lesions or or endometriosis sites). These cells are endometriosis foci and are most often located in the lower abdomen (on the peritoneum, in the ovaries, intestine or bladder) or, more rarely, on other organs (diaphragm, pleura, lungs).
Like the endometrium, endometriosis foci react cyclically and bleed because they are under the hormonal influence of the menstrual cycle. For this reason they are referred to as hormone-dependent diseases. In contrast to the menstrual blood that flows into the vagina with each cycle, blood from endometriosis sites cannot flow outwards, so it accumulates in the abdominal cavity. The surrounding tissue also becomes inflamed. The irritated tissue then progresses to scarring, which can lead to adhesions. Following cyclic bleeding, the endometriosis sites migrate and are grafted onto the neighbouring organs (intestine, ureter, bladder).
Not only does endometriosis disrupt the physical well-beingbut it can also have consequences psychological, social and affect the relationship with the partner..
Endometriosis lesions can be of three types:
- superficial and affect the peritoneum
- adnexal and therefore touch the ovaries and tubes.
- deep (beyond 5mm from the peritoneum) and infiltrate mainly the utero-sacral ligaments (which connect the uterus to the sacrum at the back, more frequent on the left), the rectum and the bladder.
Remember that there is no correlation between the intensity of the pain or the type of endometriosis and that superficial endometriosis can be very painful.