What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects young women before menopause. It is a benign disease that depends on the hormonal stimulus (estrogen) and, therefore, is definitively and spontaneously cured with menopause. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissue is deposited outside the uterus. The endometrium is a layer of cells that lines the uterine cavity and that sheds monthly with each menstruation. The most frequent sites of localization of endometriosis are the ovary (as cysts), or the peritoneum. The latter is a thin membrane that covers the abdominal cavity internally. However, the tissue of the endometrium can be located in strange sites, such as the intestine or even in the lung or eye, in extremely rare cases.
How can endometriosis be treated?
Each case is studied individually based on 3 factors that are related with the treatment of the disease:
- Age of the patient
- Severity of symptoms
- Wishes of future pregnancies
Oral contraceptives: to suppress ovulation and menstruation, and to reduce the severity of pain.
Drugs that suppress the ovarian production of hormones (Estrogens). This is a temporary treatment which last 6 months. The objective is to stop the evolution of the disease, generating a transient menopause. It is a treatment that is rarely used because of the adverse effects associated with transient menopause.
Surgery: is a type of treatment that is also used in very selected cases. The main objectives are to eliminate all foci of endometriosis visualized in the abdominal and pelvic cavity. In certain cases, in addition, ovarian cysts should be treated by a cystectomy (removing the cyst without the ovary) or an adnexectomy (removing the ovary) in very selected cases. In the most severe cases, it is necessary to perform a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus), or even a resection of the intestine or other affected organs.
We are committed to the development of innovative surgical techniques for the treatment of endometriosis. In this sense, laparoscopic mini-invasive surgery represents the best example of technological development to ensure the best surgical results with faster and safer patient recovery.
Endometriosis is usually asymptomatic in the vast majority of women and never becomes diagnosed. However, some patients can present symptoms that can alter their quality of life. It is also important to mention that the intensity of the symptoms does not usually correlate with the severity of the disease.
The main symptoms of the disease include:
- Pain during menstruation that increases over the years.
- Chronic pelvic pain. (outside menstrual periods)
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Diarrhea or constipation, pain during defecation
- Rectal bleeding during the period
The definitive diagnosis of the disease is made by performing a biopsy of implants of endometriosis in the abdominal or pelvic cavity or after performing a cystectomy in the ovary. Although these procedures are performed through mini-invasive laparoscopic surgery , the diagnosis is initially suspected based on clinical symptoms in many patients. Thus, the surgical strategy is reserved only for those women with ovarian cysts of a certain size that are accompanied by pelvic pain.