Endometriosis affects as many as one in 10 women of fertile age, and is most often diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 40 years.
What causes endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is not fully understood. The most popular theory is that during a period, a few cells that are shed from the womb lining are pushed upwards through the Fallopian tubes rather than passing out of your body as usual. As these shed cells are a normal part of you, they settle in and continue to grow.
Other factors are also involved, such as the way your immune system responds to the misplaced cells, and the genes you have inherited. For example, you are six to nine times more likely to experience endometriosis if you have a close female relative who is also affected.
Symptoms of endometriosis
The patches of misplaced, endometrial cells remain sensitive to your monthly hormone cycle, and may swell and bleed into surrounding tissues when you have your period. This can cause pelvic pain and inflammation.
The symptoms of endometriosis vary from one woman to another. Some women with endometriosis do not have any symptoms, or experience only mild pelvic pain. Others develop the four classic symptoms of endometriosis, which are:
Pelvic pain due to endometriosis can occur throughout your menstrual cycle but is often worse before or during your period. You may also experience low backache, nausea, diarrhoea, pain on passing water or pain in the back passage (rectal pain).
If you think you could have endometriosis, it is important to seek medical help and advice. Don’t delay seeing an endometriosis specialist or you will continue to suffer unnecessarily.
Studies show that the average delay between the onset of pain symptoms and receiving a diagnosis and treatment for endometriosis is, on average, 7 years.
Endometriosis diagnosis and treatment at our London clinic
A gynaecologist (women’s health specialist) will suspect endometriosis if you have painful periods, deep pelvic pain or deep pain during sex.
A gentle internal examination is important to assess your reproductive organs. You may also have an ultrasound scan, blood tests and swabs.
If you need more detailed investigation, perhaps using MRI scans or a hysteroscopy (telescopic inspection of the womb lining) or laparoscopy (keyhole inspection of the pelvic cavity) our endometriosis specialists can refer you for these.
The treatment of endometriosis depends on the severity of your pelvic pain, and whether or not you are trying for a baby.
Endometriosis treatments include painkillers and hormone treatments that damp down your menstrual cycle and ovulation. Sometimes surgery is needed to remove areas of endometriosis within the pelvis. Fertility treatments can also help you conceive.
Our clinic in London
The consultant gynaecologists at The Medical Chambers Kensington will discuss every step of your endometriosis diagnosis and help you decide which treatment is right for you.
Our endometriosis specialists work alongside a team of doctors, including GPs, specialists in Cardiology, Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Endocrinology, Fertility, Mental Health, Nutrition and Ultrasound Scans, and we offer a comprehensive approach to the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.
To find out how our endometriosis specialists can help you, please use the links above or telephone 020 7244 4200 for a confidential chat.