Endometriosis is a painful disorder, seen among women of childbearing age (usually 15-45 years of age), as the pain is associated with menstrual bleeding. Pain of endometriosis is severe during menstrual bleeding. Endometrium is inner mucosal lining of uterus. When endometrium grows outside uterus (commonly in fallopian tubes, ovaries and pelvic area), the disorder is known as endometriosis. Endometriosis rarely occurs outside pelvic cavity. The endometrium that grows outside uterus function normally just like endometrium that line inner side of uterus. Hence, during normal menstrual bleeding, the endometrial tissue that is present outside uterus also bleeds, which lead to severe paid due to accumulation of the endometrial tissue and blood because there is no exit route for the endometrial tissue, as is the case of endometrium of uterus. As a result there may be cyst/tumor formation, known as endometrioma.
What can cause endometriosis?
The exact cause that lead to endometriosis is not clearly known. However, there are many possible causes, such as
- Retrograde menstruation can lead to endometriosis. In this condition menstrual blood, instead of flowing outside uterus via cervical opening, flows backward toward Fallopian tubes and into pelvic cavity. The endometrial cells that go along with this blood can stick and grow in Fallopian tubes, pelvic walls and ovaries and cause endometriosis.
- Certain hormones can cause transformation of embryonic cells into endometrial cells and cause endometriosis.
- Peritoneal cells, under influence of certain hormones can transform into endometrial cells and lead to development of endometriosis.
- Endometrial cells may get implanted into a surgical incision site/scar after C-section or hysterectomy and develop into endometriosis.
- Sometimes endometrial cells may be transported to the site of endometriosis by blood stream or lymphatic system and start growing there.
- Immune system problem may cause inability of body’s immune system to identify and destroy the endometrial cells that grow outside uterus. This is another probable cause of endometriosis.
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