What We Know So Far About Why Endometriosis Occurs

Studies have uncovered that up to 11% of women born between 1973 and 1978 were diagnosed with endometriosis by the ages of 40 to 44. With such a high prevalence, it’s important to know more about this disease to get an accurate and timely diagnosis. Another critical aspect of endometriosis is understanding why it occurs. Let’s discuss what we know so far about why endometriosis occurs; this information will help people know when to seek medical help and how to manage it.

What Is Endometriosis and What Are the Symptoms?

Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to that lining the uterus (known as endometrial tissue) grows outside the uterus, in the pelvic area. This tissue causes scarring and bleeding, ultimately leading to the adhesion of organs in the pelvic area, which are supposed to be separate. The formation of this tissue can lead to painful sex, painful or heavy periods, reduced fertility, bleeding between periods, and chronic pelvic pain. When successful diagnosis and treatment are available for those affected by endometriosis, it becomes easier to cope with the symptoms. 

Why Does Endometriosis Occur? 

Knowing the reason for painful symptoms is just part of the fight against endometriosis. Getting treatment is the next step; however, understanding why endometriosis occurs to begin with may be key to prevention and better diagnosis. So far, due to a lack of research, no one quite knows what causes this disease. Researchers do have several theories, however.

Retrograde menstrual flow: many researchers believe that a retrograde menstrual flow may be linked to endometriosis. This means that some menstrual tissue flows back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity. However, there may be other factors because nine in ten people have retrograde menstruation

An immune system disorder: a problem with the immune system may affect the body’s ability to recognise endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus in order to destroy it. 

Genetics: it is more common in circumstances where endometriosis runs in the family.

Abdominal surgery: surgeries such as hysterectomies and Caesareans may result in the accidental movement of endometrial tissue, leading the cells to attach to the scar tissue.

Hormonal factors: hormones may lead to the cells which line the inner abdomen transforming into endometrial-like cells. In other instances, oestrogen may transform cells in the early stages of development into endometrial-like cells with the onset of puberty.

Lymphatic transportation: the lymphatic system may transport endometrial cells to other areas within the body, allowing them to grow and cause endometriosis.

The trouble with endometriosis is that until we have a better understanding of it, doctors are in the predicament of treating the symptoms rather than whatever may cause it. Doctors typically assist patients in the management of endometriosis through lifestyle changes, surgery, and medication. The first step to managing endometriosis, however, is obtaining a diagnosis. If you have or think you may have endometriosis and need medical assistance, get in touch with OMNI for high-quality, expert ENDOMETRIOSIS ULTRASOUND.

OMNI Ultrasound & Gynaecological Care

Condous performs Advanced Endosurgery procedures for women needing intervention for pelvic masses, adnexal pathology, severe endometriosis or hysterectomy. He also runs ‘Hands on’ Live Sheep Laparoscopic Workshops for gynaecologists at Camden Veterinarian School.
Having completed an undergraduate degree with the University of Adelaide, he left Australia in 1993 and moved to London where he completed his training in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. From 2001 to 2003 Condous worked as a Senior Research Fellow at St George’s Hospital, London. At St George’s he set up the Acute Gynaecology Unit, the first in the United Kingdom. It was also during this time that he developed an interest in Early Pregnancy and especially the management of pregnancies of unknown location (PULs). Condous has developed many mathematical models for the prediction of outcome of PULs which have been featured in numerous peer review journals. In 2005, he returned to Australia where he completed his Laparoscopic Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Reproductive Endosurgery, Royal North Shore, Sydney.

Condous was appointed as a Consultant Gynaecologist and Senior Lecturer at Nepean Hospital in 2006 and soon was made Associate Professor. In 2010, he was made Departmental Head of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at Nepean Hospital. He obtained the MRCOG in 1999 and was made FRANZCOG in 2005. In 2009, he was awarded his Doctorate in Medicine (MD), University of London, for his thesis entitled: “The management of pregnancies of unknown location and the development of new mathematical models to predict outcome”.

Condous has edited three books including the “Handbook of Early Pregnancy Care”, published over 100 papers in international journals and is internationally renowned for his work in Early Pregnancy. He is the Associate Editor for Gynaecologic Obstetric Investigation, which is a European based journal, as well as the Australasian Journal of Ultrasound in Medicine (AJUM). He is on the organising committee and is an invited speaker at the International Society of Ultrasound in Obstetrics and Gynaecology (ISUOG) Scientific meeting in Sydney 2013. His current research interests relate to the management of ectopic pregnancy, 1st trimester growth, PULs and miscarriage and the use of transvaginal ultrasound (in particular sonovaginography, to predict posterior compartment deep infiltrating rectovaginal endometriosis).Condous is also actively involved with post-graduate education including the annual running of the Early Pregnancy and Gynaecological Ultrasound Interactive Courses for Sonologists, Radiologists, Sonographers and Gynaecologists in Australia.