Retrograde menstruation and genetic and environmental factors are on the list when the topic is what causes endometriosis. Check out the others and the indicated treatments.
Surely, all women will have heard of this problem, but do you know exactly what are the causes of endometriosis? Endometriosis is characterized by the fact that the tissue that lines the uterus, called the endometrium, grows outside this organ.
In this case, this growth can occur in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and even the bowel. Just to reinforce, it is in the endometrial tissue that the egg is installed so that it can be fertilized by the sperm. When this does not occur, it is shed and gives rise to menstruation.
Thus, when endometriosis appears, in addition to the endometrium, there may be glands and stroma in this inadequate growth, which is a vascularized connective tissue that should only be inside the uterine cavity.
Symptoms of endometriosis include severe pelvic pain, especially during the menstrual period, heavy menstruation, and difficulty in getting pregnant, among others.
Thus, what causes endometriosis may be that menstruation is not eliminated properly, or immune system deficiency, among other reasons.
Consult, in this article, everything that causes endometriosis, the risk factors for the development of the disease, what it can cause, and much more on the subject.
What causes endometriosis?
Knowing exactly what causes endometriosis remains a challenge for doctors and specialists.
As identified by professionals in the field so far, the list of causes includes:
Retrograde menstruation occurs when there is no proper removal of the detachment from the uterine walls. When this occurs, some of the endometrial tissue may be directed to other organs in the pelvic cavity.
However, it should be noted that this type of reflux usually occurs in virtually all women. In this process, part of the menstrual blood is naturally transported to the uterine tubes, instead of being eliminated directly through the vaginal canal.
Thus, the action of the immune system is one of the reasons why, although this occurs, not all women develop endometriosis.
Deficient immune system
On the other hand, when the immune system does not perform this function correctly, the body becomes incapable of recognizing that cells are growing in inappropriate places.
Therefore, this defect enters the list of causes of endometriosis, as the body is unable to destroy these cells, leaving them to grow outside the uterus.
Growth of embryonic cells
Both the abdomen and the pelvic cavity of our body are lined by common embryonic cells.
However, for reasons as yet unknown, some of these cells eventually develop into endometrial tissue, leading to the development of endometriosis.
In the relationship about the causes of endometriosis, one of the possibilities raised by experts is the influence of environmental factors.
The hypothesis is that the impacts of commonly consumed foods, such as exposure to stimulants and pesticides, can alter the immune system and cause it to fail to correctly recognize the presence of the endometrium, in organs other than the uterus. This causes the body to stop fighting these cells, leading to the development of endometriosis.
The genetic factor is one of the answers to the causes of endometriosis. Because when other women in the family have the same problem, especially close relatives, the onset of this disease can occur.
In surgeries such as cesarean section or hysterectomy, endometrial cells can become detached and stick to the incisions, contributing to their subsequent migration to other organs in the pelvic region.
Lymphatic system disorders
Malfunctions in the functioning of the lymphatic system can contribute to small parts of the endometrial tissue being carried to other regions of the body, favoring the appearance of endometriosis.
What are the risk factors for the appearance of endometriosis?
Bearing in mind that we are talking about the causes of endometriosis, it is necessary to take into account that there are also other risk factors, such as:
- Menstruating too early;
- Not having children or having a late pregnancy;
- Having long menstrual periods, especially of more than 7 days.
- Having problems with perforation of the hymen, which can prevent blood from draining properly
- Abnormalities of the uterus;
- Delayed onset of menopause.
What are the types of endometriosis and what can it cause?
Once diagnosed, endometriosis can be considered mild, moderate, or severe. This characteristic can also determine whether or not surgery is necessary.
Another factor that is taken into account when deciding on surgical intervention is the intensity of the symptoms, which are usually:
- Pain in the pelvic region is more intense during the menstrual period.
- Pain during penetrative intercourse
- Pain during urination and/or defecation, mainly during menstruation.
- Diarrhea on menstruation days
- Bleeding outside the menstrual period
In this regard, it should be remembered that, in addition to the discomfort caused by the symptoms, endometriosis can cause difficulties in becoming pregnant or even infertility.
Endometriosis can be of the following types:
- Superficial: affects only the peritoneum, the tissue covering the organs of the pelvic and abdominal cavity.
- Deep: when the foci of the disease go deeper than five millimeters into the affected regions;
- In the ovary: when it affects only this organ;
- In the wall: endometrial tissue migrates and lodges in the abdominal wall;
- Pulmonary: rather rare form of endometriosis, characterized when the endometrium reaches the lungs through the bloodstream;
- In other organs: following the same principle, the endometrial tissue detached when it reaches the bladder, bowel, diaphragm, and sciatic nerve.
Is it possible to avoid endometriosis?
Now that you know what the causes of endometriosis are, it is practically impossible to prevent the onset of this problem. However, it is very important to know that endometriosis can be treated.
The first step is to have a good medical follow-up and explain all your symptoms. The diagnosis to identify if you have the disease is done through a clinical pelvic examination with the rectal and vaginal examination, specialized ultrasound, and MRI. If necessary, the physician may request an exploratory laparoscopy.
Thus, once it has been proven that endometriosis is present, the choice of treatment will depend on the type, severity of symptoms, age, and whether the patient intends to have children, among other points.
Therefore, treatment options include medications to relieve pain and control the progression of the disease, surgery to remove endometrial tissue in the affected areas, or hysterectomy, including, if necessary, removal of the ovaries.