What is Endometriosis and When is Laparoscopic Surgery Necessary?
Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue that normally lines the uterus grows outside of the uterus. This condition is usually found in the lower abdomen or pelvis; however, it’s important to note that it can appear anywhere in the body. Endometrial tissue responds to the hormonal changes of ovulation and sheds out during your period.
A woman’s endometriosis will be classified into one of four stages:
The stage of a woman’s endometriosis is determined by its exact location, extent, and depth. Additionally, the stage is determined by its presence and size, along with the severity of the adhesion. Most cases of endometriosis land women in stage 1 or 2. This means that women will have superficial implants and mild scarring. Stage 3 and 4 generally result in more severe scarring along with cysts. Women with stage 4 endometriosis also tend to experience symptoms of infertility.
What Causes Endometriosis?
Unfortunately, the actual cause of Endometriosis is unknown. However, there have been many theories developed by medical professionals that can give valuable insight into its origin.
One possible reason as to why women may have endometriosis is retrograde menstruation. This type of menstruation means that when women have their period, some of the blood and tissue from the uterus travel through the fallopian tubes and into the abdominal cavity.
Immune system disorder:
An immune system disorder is another possible cause of endometriosis. An immune system disorder can make the body unable to unrecognize endometrial tissue that’s growing outside of the uterus.
The term metaplasia simply means “change in form”. Essentially, metaplasia is a process that consists of one tissue transforming into a new one. Ultimately, when normal tissue shifts into abnormal tissue, metaplasia takes place. During this process, it is possible that endometrial tissue can replace other types of tissue outside of the uterus.
Complications of surgical scarring:
In some cases, endometriosis can occur from surgical scarring. This can happen if endometrial cells attach to the scar during a surgical procedure. For instance, this can happen during a cesarean delivery.
Studies have shown that endometriosis runs in families, and because of this, it is possible that it can be inherited.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Endometriosis can be a painful disorder. There are various symptoms that can be associated with endometriosis; however, it’s important to note that some women may report that they don’t experience any symptoms at all. Some of the symptoms associated with endometriosis include but are not limited to:
- Lower abdomen pain: Women may occasionally experience pain in their abdomen. In addition to this, it is not uncommon for women to experience pain in their lower back, pelvis, rectum, and vagina.
- Dysmenorrhea: Dysmenorrhea or painful periods may occur if you have endometriosis. Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before your period begins. It can also extend several days into your period.
- Pain with sexual intercourse: It is common for women with endometriosis to experience pain before and after sexual intercourse.
- Excessive bleeding: Women who have endometriosis can experience heavier periods or bleeding between periods.
- Infertility: It is not uncommon for women who have endometriosis to suffer from infertility.
What is Laparoscopic Surgery?
Laparoscopic surgery is the most common type of surgery for women with endometriosis. It is used to both diagnose and treat this disorder. The surgery allows the doctor to observe the reproductive organs without any large abdominal incisions. Laparoscopic surgery requires relatively smaller cuts. In fact, this type of surgery uses a laparoscope, which is a slender tool that has a small video camera with a light attached at the end.
With laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon will make several small cuts. These cuts are generally no more than a half-inch long. After the cuts are made, the surgeon will insert a tube through each of the openings, making room for the camera and other surgical instruments to enter.
There are many benefits to getting this procedure done. Some of these benefits are:
- Smaller scars after surgery
- Women will experience less pain while scars heal
- Healing time will be quicker
- Women will be able to get out of the hospital quicker
- Women can possibly have less internal scarring
It is possible that you will experience various symptoms when recovering from the laparoscopic surgery. Symptoms such as fatigue, abdominal bloating, shoulder or back pain from any remaining carbon dioxide, and discomfort from incisions are common.
When do Women Need Laparoscopic Surgery?
There are various options for treating endometriosis. Your doctor will recommend the best option for you depending on its severity. A doctor may start you on a hormone therapy such as birth control, pain medication, danazol, or progestin therapy. In the event that this does not work, doctors will recommend laparoscopic surgery.
Ultimately, women should consider laparoscopic surgery if their endometriosis is severe and medication isn’t helping. If you have severe pelvic pain, a growth in your pelvis that needs to be removed, or you have an issue getting pregnant, then it is time to consider laparoscopic surgery.
What are the Risks of Laparoscopic Surgery?
As with any surgery, there are possible risks that women should consider before getting this surgery done. Some of these risks include but are not limited to:
- Blood clots
- Abdominal inflammation or infection
- Risk of damage to internal structures. Some of these structures can include blood vessels, bowel, bladder, stomach, or ureter
Endometriosis can be a painful disorder, but the good news is that there are options available to women to treat this condition. Remember, surgery may not be your only option, especially if your endometriosis isn’t severe. However, if you do decide to move forward with the surgery, it’s important that you maintain regular checkups and consult with a trusted doctor before moving forward with the surgery.
If you have any additional questions on endometriosis or want to know more about the process of laparoscopic surgery, contact us. We will be happy to answer any questions you may have.