Personal Health: What To Ask About Endometriosis

 

Personal Health: What To Ask About Endometriosis

Njambi Koikai, a 32 year old TV and radio personality based in Nairobi, had a promising career in the Kenyan media industry before a health condition brought her to her knees and on the verge of death.

Njambi had endured 18 painful years of endometriosis before her lungs collapsed and had to travel to the United States of America for specialized treatment. 

She majorly depended on well wishers to fund the costly medical procedures and at the end of it all had no job to cover her recovery process or pay her bills.

Janet Mbugua

She is not alone. A number of famous people in Kenya like journalist Janet Mbugua and comedian Zulekha have also shared their experiences with endometriosis. But there are thousands of others without a platform going through the worst.

Many women in the country are going through untold suffering in the hands of endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue similar to that lining the uterine cavity(endometrium)develops in another part of the body outside the uterine cavity.

According to medical specialists we talked to, 10 - 15 percent of all women within the reproductive stage and 70 percent of women with a history of chronic pelvic pain are at risk of developing endometriosis.

Signs and Symptoms

The condition expresses itself in the form of pelvic pain (more intense before the menstrual flow then reduces as the flow resolves), crampy abdominal pain during s3xual intercourse, crampy abdominal pain during bowel movement/urination, infertility, constipation, bloody urine, irregular or heavy menstrual flow, chest pain/coughing blood in case of migration to the lungs and headache/convulsions in case of migration to the brain.

Pain severity cannot be used as a measuring parameter of the endometriosis extent. One may have an advanced endometriosis but with little or no pain at all while in other case one may have extreme pain but with a mild endometriosis.

Causes of Endometriosis

Endometriosis may be caused by accidental migration of the endometrial  cells via blood vessels or lymphatic vessels to other parts of the body, and scarring due to surgery e.g C-S or hysterectomy.

Retrograde menstruation- whereby blood flows backwards with endometrial cells through Fallopian tube into the pelvic cavity hence growing outside the uterus is also a cause. 

Immune system disorders that may lead into failure of recognition of foreign endometrial cells hence failure in destroying them and accidental peritoneal cells transformation by hormones or immune factors are also causes.

Risk Factors for Endometriosis

Heavy menstrual flow that lasts more than seven days, short menstrual cycle less than twenty seven days, not giving birth, menstrual flow beginning early (in age), late menopause, extremely high estrogen levels in the body or exposure, low body mass, and Genetics(family history of endometriosis).

Diagnosis

According to the physicians we talked to, Endometriosis may be identified through history taking of the patient/physical examination together with diagnostic modalities such as abdominal/transvagiπal ultrasound.This modality may identify cysts associated with endometriosis though it may not give definite signs of endometriosis and Laparoscopy which shows signs of the endometrial tissues outside the uterine cavity.

Treatment

Endometriosis can be managed by drugs majorly hormonal therapy or by surgery. The choice of treatment will be guided by the severity of the patient's endometriosis.

Complications

Complications that may arise from endometriosis include fertility problems e.g infertility or subfertility, and Cancer e.g ovarian cancer or adenocarcinoma.

Resources

Check out these resources related to endometriosis.

Send tips, business inquiries and all else to dailyupdateskenya[at]gmail.com

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