|You are here > Home > Gynaecology > Pelvic Pain / Endometriosis|
The womb (uterus) forms part of the female reproductive systems. The inside lining of the womb is called the endometrium. Each month is lining thickens because of female hormones in your body.
If a pregnancy occurs, the baby (embryo) is able to implant into the thickened endometrium which then produces nutrients to help it grow and develop.
If pregnancy does not occur, the lining is no longer required and is shed. This is known as a “period” (menstruation) and usually lasts for about 5 days occurring in most women every 4 weeks or so.
Endometriosis means the presence of some of the endometrium outside its normal place i.e., outside the womb. In other words, parts of the endometrium that have managed to find their way to other places in your body and are most commonly found around the pelvis, ovaries and Fallopian tubes (the tubes that carry the eggs from the ovaries to your uterus). Rarely, endometriosis can be found in other parts of the body such as the lungs and kidneys.
Endometriosis is painful because it continues to respond to your hormones each month. This means that it bleeds every month during your normal period but the blood has nowhere to go. Apart from being painful, the problems caused by endometriosis can also make it difficult to become pregnant - a condition known as infertility.
The good news is that once your doctor has diagnosed endometriosis, it can be managed effectively. It is a “benign” condition (not cancer) and does not lead to cancer of the uterus or ovaries.
IS ENDOMETRIOSIS COMMON?
Although you may never have heard of it, endometriosis is thought to affect as many as one in ten women of childbearing age. As many as one in three women coming to a gynaecology clinic suffer from endometriosis. For every 5 women who are having difficulty in getting pregnant, 2 will have endometriosis. If you mother or sisters suffer from endometriosis you are 7 times more likely to have the condition too. Unfortunately, many women “suffer in silence” believing their symptoms to be normal.
WHAT CAUSES PAINFUL PERIODS?
It is not clear why endometriosis occurs in some women and not others. The most popular idea is that each month some of the endometrium is not shed during the period. Instead it moves backwards up the Fallopian tubes and is released into the pelvis where it can implant and grow. Another idea is that the endometrium is carried to other parts of the body in the blood.
The term dyspareunia (dis-pa-roon-ia) is the medical term for pain during sexual intercourse.
Fear and embarrassment prevent many women from seeking help for dyspareunia. they may think they are abnormal. Or they may think nothing can be done. But that isn’t true. Much can be done.
Thank fully, changing social attitudes have encouraged discussion of pain during sex. For more information about dyspariunia and its treatment, talk to your doctor or another health care professional.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT DYSPAREUNIA
CAUSES OF PAIN
Pain during sexual intercourse can occur for a variety of reasons such as an allergic reaction to a personal hygiene product or a physical problem. Sometimes, emotional issues play a role in the pain.
The causes of pain during sex include :
ADDITIONAL CAUSES OF PAIN
©2003 - 2011 Dr Paul Fogarty