The female reproductive system is perhaps one of the most productive compared to the other parts of the body. And with that, there are some diseases which are inevitable. One of which is endometriosis. This occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus also shows up on the other parts such as the Fallopian tubes, ovaries, ligaments, anterior and posterior cul-de-sac, and tissues lining the pelvis.
There are also cases when the endometrial tissue sticks to the intestines, rectum, bladder, vagina, cervix, vulva and abdominal surgery scars. During each menstrual cycle, the displaced endometrial tissue continues to thicken, break down and bleed. Since this issue doesn’t have a way out of the body, it becomes trapped.
There are some cases in which endometriosis involves the ovaries and cysts form. The surrounding tissue becomes irritated and develops scar tissue, which are abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that causes pelvic tissues and organs to adhere to each other.
Endometriosis affects 1 in 10 women during their reproductive age ranging from 15 to 49. This is approximately 176 million women in the world. It is one of the top three causes of female infertility. This disease can only be fully diagnosed by having a laparoscopy and a pathology confirmation of biopsy specimens. A gynecologist may also suggest an ultrasound, CT scan or an MRI see the structures.
The disease is also classified into different stages such as minimal, mild, moderate and severe. These stages are based on the extent of the spread of the endometrial tissue; the involvement of the pelvic structures; the extent of pelvic adhesion; and the blockage of the Fallopian tubes. The level of pain does not coincide with the stage because there are some women who may still be in stage 1 yet experience excruciating pain already.
In most cases, women experience a decade long delay until they are accurately diagnosed with endometriosis. In the US, this disease costs over $87 billion annually in medical costs and work productivity. Aside from its physical ailments, this disease can also impact a lot on all aspects of life such as education, career, relationship and the overall well-being of a woman.
What causes Endometriosis?
Like most severe conditions, the exact cause of endometriosis cannot be pinpointed. But after several studies, medical experts have come up with possible explanations of this disease:
- Induction theory – researchers propose that immune factors or hormones promote the transformation of the peritoneal cell into endometrial cells
- Retrograde menstruation – this happens when the menstrual blood which contains endometrial cells pass back to the Fallopian tubes instead of outside the body. The displaced endometrial cells adhere to the pelvic walls and organs in which they continue to grow, thicken and bleed.
- Surgical scar implantation – C-section or hysterectomy may have the endometrial cells adhere to the incision area
- Embryonic cell transformation – Estrogen plays a major role in transforming embryonic cells into endometrial cells
- Immune system disorder – if there is a problem within the immune system, the body may fail to check and destroy the endometrial tissue outside the uterus
This condition causes discomfort and severe pain commonly during your period. In other cases, fertility problems arise. On a lighter note, there are actually effective treatments available especially when you are able to track the symptoms through your Android or iPhone with CareClinic.
Symptoms can be tracked and monitored
Endometriosis is mainly characterized by pelvic pain that is often associated with the monthly period. Some women experience cramping during the menstrual period but those with endometriosis have worse pain that tends to increase over time. This condition has these signs and symptoms:
- Dysmenorrhea – cramping and pelvic pain may be felt before and the entire menstrual period. Back pain is also bound to happen.
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
- Menorrhagia (heavy menstrual periods) or menometrorrhagia (bleeding between periods)
- Other symptoms may include diarrhea, constipation, fatigue, nausea, bloating
The severity of pain is not a reliable indicator of the extent of the condition. Some women may have mild pain but have advanced endometriosis. The condition is also challenging to diagnose as it can also be confused with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cysts, or irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
In the worst cases, IBS can accompany endometriosis and make the diagnosis very complicated. For the record, a lot of women are misdiagnosed which leads to wrong treatment. That is why health apps have been created to make sure every little detail of what you are experiencing will be recorded and relayed to the medical professional right away.
Having an endometriosis symptom tracker app makes everything convenient especially when it comes to monitoring the disease. CareClinic sees to it that all data you input in it becomes stored and printed out right before your next doctor’s appointment.
Works Well On Mobile or the Web
The Android or iOS app helps in tracking menstrual cramps, pelvic pain and all other symptoms associated with endometriosis. What makes this health app great is that you can also include the degree and location of the pain experienced.
If your physician needs you to take continuous hormone medications, you can log invaluable information into this handy endometriosis pain diary. The app sends notifications as to what exact time and dosage you need to take these pills. Charting is also possible, so the app can also be used as a reliable period tracker.
Risk factors of Endometriosis
Not all women get this disease. Though there are several factors which put you on a higher risk in developing endometriosis such as:
- The menstrual period starts at an early age
- Menopause starts at a much older age
- Never giving birth
- Short menstrual cycles
- Higher levels of estrogen
- Low BMI (body mass index)
- Family medical history of endometriosis
- Alcohol consumption
- Uterine abnormalities
Endometriosis is not a disease that happens overnight. This develops several years after menarche. When you become pregnant, the signs and symptoms end temporarily. At menopause, everything ends permanently, unless you are taking in estrogen. The disease is also linked to two major complications such as infertility and ovarian cancer. When you suspect that you might have the disease, consulting a physician is the best thing to do.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
When the doctor already confirms that you have endometriosis, medications are usually prescribed. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Ibuprofen help in alleviating the pain caused by this condition. Medications affecting hormones such as oral contraceptive pills are also given.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists put you in a temporary menopause state to curb the symptoms of endometriosis. Other doctors let their patients have acupuncture or a change in diet to treat the symptoms rather than the possible cause.
If all else fails, minimally invasive laparoscopic excision surgery is the best treatment option. A specialist performs this to remove or burn endometriosis lesions outside the uterus. Scar tissues are also eradicated so that the reproductive organs can go back to their normal locations in the area of the pelvis. Surgery has been proven to alleviate the pain associated with endometriosis. This procedure also helps in making women become pregnant.
Then again, each woman is different. What may work for one, may not for the other. Each patient will benefit differently from each treatment. It is vital for patients to work hand in hand with her physician and create a possible, effective pain management strategy that works best.
Tracking & Monitoring a healthy reproductive system with CareClinic
Women, unlike men, undergo menstrual period and even the capacity to become pregnant. A lot is on the plate and thus requires women to be healthy at all times. With CareClinic, you can say goodbye to forgotten pills and medications. This health app is one of the most reliable in terms of performance.
You can record your monthly period in the app as well as input signs and symptoms if you suspect that you have endometriosis. After having gone for a check-up, your specialist will advise you to track the symptoms, such as pelvic pain during your menstruation. The intensity of the pain may also be recorded so that it will be easy to formulate an appropriate treatment plan or therapy for your case.
Aside from symptoms, the health app can also send reminders through push notifications and vibrating alerts. So there is no reason why you cannot follow your health regimen. You may scan the bar code of your prescription and it will automatically be populated and stored in the app. This will serve as a basis when your doctor will adjust your treatment plan along the way.
Certain medications are needed to be taken at the same time each day as well as using the correct dosage. CareClinic helps patients adhere strictly to their medications making it the best companion to treating endometriosis. This app does not only send reminders but also acts as a health diary in which all measurements regarding your health status will be saved.
At the end of the month, all of the data you saved daily can then be converted into a printed report which you can share with your doctor. Being responsible enough to track everything every day will only make things easier for you and your doctor. CareClinic does not only help promote a healthy reproductive system but life in general.
If you would like to get started tracking your health symptoms, sign up to CareClinic by clicking here.