Endometriosis is a common gynecological disorder first identified in the mid-19th century. The condition is primarily found in women aged around 25 - 35 years, and occurs in 6 to 10% of the general female population. Endometriosis is defined as the abnormal growth of cells (endometrial glands and stroma) outside of the normal location.
Estimates suggest that 20% to 50% of women who are undergoing treatment for infertility have endometriosis, and up to 80% of women with chronic pelvic pain may be affected. The cause of endometriosis is unknown. One theory is that the endometrial tissue is deposited in unusual locations by the backing up of menstrual flow into the Fallopian tubes and the pelvic and abdominal cavity during menstruation. Another theory is that areas lining the pelvic organs possess primitive cells that are able to grow into other forms of tissue, such as endometrial cells.
Most women with endometriosis do not have symptoms. Of those who do experience symptoms, common ones are:
Treatment of endometriosis depends on the specific symptoms. Therapies depend on whether the woman is seeking treatment for infertility or pain. Whether family planning is already completed or not will influence the decision between medical treatment and definitive surgery.
Uterine Fibroids (Leiomyomata)
Uterine fibroids (leiomyoma) are non-cancerous abnormal growths that develop in or just outside a woman’s uterus. Uterine fibroids are very common and, as many as 3 out of 4 women have them at some point in life. Usually they are too small to cause problems, or even be noticed. Still, researchers do not know what causes uterine fibroids. It may be a predisposition to developing fibroids, but their growth seems to depend on estrogen levels in the body. Therefore, they may increase in size with pregnancy and shrink or disappear after menopause.
Medications for uterine fibroids do not eliminate fibroids, but rather shrink them. They include hormones that regulate the menstrual cycle by treating symptoms such as heavy menstrual bleeding and pelvic pressure.
Using hormone replacement therapy containing estrogen after menopause may cause fibroids to continue to grow and create symptoms.