The lining of the uterus is known as endometrium. Endometriosis refers the presence of endometrial glands and stroma outside the endometrial cavity and uterine musculature. Endometriosis is a medical condition in women where cell growth similar to that inside of the uterus (Endometrial Cells) is found outside the uterus. During menstruation the cells inside the uterus sheds out. Endometriosis lesions are seen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and pelvic sidewall. The other areas where such growth is seen include uterosacral ligaments, cul-de-sac, Pouch of Douglas and rectal-vaginal septum.
Endometriosis is found to affect women during their reproductive years. Most of the cases of endometriosis are found in the age of 25-35 years, rare cases have been reported in 11 year girls and also in postmenopausal women. In advanced stages of endometriosis it may lead to Frozen Pelvis, the condition where the internal organs fuse.
Endometriosis is categorized into four stages based on the severity, location, amount, depth and size of growths.
• Stage 1 - minimal disease, superficial and filmy adhesions
• Stage 2 - mild disease, superficial and deep endometriosis
• Stage 3 - moderate disease, deep endometriosis and adhesions
• Stage 4 - severe disease, deep endometriosis, dense adhesion
The growth and function of endometriosis depends upon stimulation from estrogen and progesterone which are produced by the ovaries in women who menstruate.
• Partial or complete obstruction of normal menstrual flow
• No pregnancies resulting in the birth of an infant
• Short menstrual cycles with prolonged flow (>8 days)
• Endometriosis in a woman's mother (genetic susceptibility)
Conditions that lower the risk of endometriosis are amenorrhea, pregnancy, and prolonged use of birth control pills.
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