What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is an inflammatory disease that resembles endometrial tissue when examined under the microscope. Endometriosis tissue contains endometrial glands and stroma but that is the only similarities it shares with normal endometrium. The endometrium is the inner layer of the uterus that is shed off when a woman gets her period. Endometriosis may grow anywhere in the body but is most commonly seen around the ovaries, peritoneum, ligaments of the uterus and gastrointestinal system It is a multisystemic disease and is not just limited to the genito-urinary system. Estrogen hormones which are secreted when a woman starts menstruating cause the endometriosis to grow and invade body tissues resulting in painful adhesions, scarification and disruption of other organ systems. Tissue growing into the rectum and bowel produces constipation or diarrhoea, if it grows into the ovary or tubes it causes infertility, if it grows within the vagina and the back of the uterus it causes painful sexual intercourse and also produces inflammatory processes causing generalised abdominal pain and bloating. The disease grows like a cancer and pulls everything toward it causing entrapment of nerves and produces new blood vessels. This causes sequelae depending what nerves and vessels are impacted ranging anywhere from sexual function to altered urinary function and/or bowel functions.