The Link Between Endometriosis and Cancer

You’ve been having those terrible cramps every time you have your monthly menstrual period. If this condition becomes chronic and the pain becomes unbearable, you could be suffering from endometriosis.

What is Endometriosis?
Your uterus is lined with a tissue called the endometrium. It is analogous to a nest, where the fertilized egg grows. During your monthly period, the body releases hormones, which causes this tissue to thicken and prepare itself for the egg. When you get pregnant, the egg attaches itself to this endometrium and develops there. If you do not get pregnant, the endometrium breaks down and sheds this egg as blood. This is called the menstrual blood.

If you are suffering from endometriosis, the endometrium gets thicker and they begin to bleed. But unlike the menstrual blood that goes out of the body, blood from this tissue doesn’t. As a consequence, the tissue becomes inflamed and swollen. The endometrium forms scar tissues and lesions and cysts can develop overtime.

Symptoms of Endometriosis
• Extremely painful menstrual cramps
• Painful urination especially when you are menstruating
• Abnormal heavy bleeding during menstruation

Are Causes of Endometriosis Known?
The cause of endometriosis is not known. Any woman who menstruates can be afflicted with it. It commonly occurs in women who have not had any children. But it is a condition that could form cysts in the reproductive system.

Is Endometriosis a form of Cancer?
Endometriosis itself is not a cancer. But some treatment used to cure this condition is associated with ovarian cancer. Recent studies have shown that a certain drug that is used to treat endometriosis (danazol, for example) has shown an increase of a woman acquiring ovarian cancer.

What should be done then? It is best to discuss with your doctor an alternative treatment that you could get. The treatment would also depend on the severity of the problem.

Other Downsides
Women with endometriosis usually experience painful sex. And the chances of child bearing depend on the severity of the condition. Most women with endometriosis could still get pregnant. The severity of the problem and how well it responds to treatment would dictate the chance of getting pregnant.

Can it be Treated?
For mild cases of endometriosis, your doctor would recommend taking hormonal pills or other medication to correct the problem. The pills reduce the size of the tissue growth and reduce the blood flow during your menstruation. Once the pill intake stops, the tissue will return to its normal size. But it would give time for the scar to heal, and then eventually you would not experience as much pain as before.

But for severe cases, the scar tissue is removed in a procedure called laparoscopy. This intervention deals with the pain and improves the chances of becoming pregnant.

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