Endometriosis?! - What is that?!
Updated: May 19, 2020
So you just received the diagnosis of "endometriosis"; but as soon as your doctor started to explain, he or she began to sound like the teacher on the Peanuts cartoon - “Wah, wah, wah, wah.” Let’s see if I can help you understand your diagnosis a little better. Endometriosis is a condition that can affect some women who still have a uterus and ovaries, and are not menopausal. The uterus (or womb) has special cells and tissue called endometrial cells. These cells make up a larger area called the endometrium, or lining of the uterus. One of the responsibilities of this lining is to provide a cushion for a fertilized egg to rest and develop into a full term baby. “But Dr. Gina, I don’t want kids, why do I need the endometrium?” Well, your body will still produce eggs and that "cushion" still develops. However, if the egg does not get fertilized, your hormones let the endometrial lining know. Having received the signal from your hormones that it is not needed, the lining leaves the uterus and, TAH-DAH, you have your period! – “Tah-dah,” was probably a bad choice of words. So, when you have endometriosis, the lining will still get the signal to leave the uterus, but it goes the wrong way. Instead of going out of the body as a "period", it goes the opposite way - from the uterus, through the fallopian tubes, to the inside of the your belly or abdomen. Once those cells are inside of the abdomen, they float around willy-nilly until they “land” and implant themselves. Although these cells are no longer inside of the uterus, they still react to hormonal signal in the body. QUICK NOTE: Your period got turned around and went to the wrong address. Endometriosis can cause several complications for women including painful periods, painful sex, adhesions, infertility, and chronic pelvic pain. But don’t worry, there is good news! There are ways to treat your endometriosis, which may include both medical and/or surgical options.