26 November 2013
Causal Analysis: Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a problem that many women have in their childbearing years, usually between the ages of fifteen to forty-nine. Having this gynological condition means that the endometrium (a type of tissue that lines the uterus) is also growing somewhere outside of the uterus. This does not always cause symptoms, and usually is not dangerous or life threatening, but it does pose some risks. This disease can cause severe pain and other problems as well. The clumps of endometrium that grow outside of the uterus are called implants. These "implants" typically grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the outer wall of the uterus, the intestines, or other organs in the abdomen, but in some rare cases they have spread to areas and organs beyond the abdominal region.
How can this cause problems? Each month a woman's body releases hormones that cause the endometrium to thicken and get ready for an egg.
If the woman gets pregnant, the fertilized egg attaches to the endometrium and starts to grow. If the woman does not get pregnant, the endometrium breaks down, and her body will shed it as blood. This is called her menstrual period. When a woman has endometriosis the implants of tissue outside of the uterus act just like the tissue lining the inside of the uterus. During the menstrual cycle, they get thicker, then break down and bleed. The problem is, that since these implants are on the outside of the uterus, the blood cannot flow out of the body. The implants then get irritated and painful. Sometimes they form scar tissue or fluid filled sacs called cysts. The scar tissue and cysts can make it difficult for a woman to become pregnant.