Endometriosis is a very painful women's issue (gynecological medical condition) affecting at least 1 million or between 5% to 10% of females in Canada. Normally the uterine cavity is lined with endometrial cells to form the endometrium. Women with endometriosis have endometrial-like cells growing outside of the uterine cavity, including the ovaries, ligaments supporting the uterus, area between the vagina and rectum, outer surface of the uterus, and the lining of the pelvic cavity, the bladder, bowel, vagina, cervix, vulva and in surgical scars.
These cells respond to the menstrual cycle like the endometrium in that each cycle, it builds up and breaks down. These cells shed and have no way of leaving the body, resulting in internal bleeding and subsequent inflammation. It usually affects women in the reproductive years. The main symptom is pelvic pain in different forms, depending on the location of the endometriosis. Symptoms may also include painful periods (dysmenorhea), painul sex (dyspareunia), fatigue, painful urination (dysuria) and bowl movements during periods and other digestive problems such as constipation and diarrhea. It is common in women with infertility.
In modern medicine, the cause is unknown, but theories suggest that endometrial tissue may be distributed or backed up from the uterus to other parts of the body. Research also revealed that there is a link with dioxin exposure to endometriosis.
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