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Article:    What's the most common Chronic Disease in Women

                                 Word Count: 1,046 Words

    One of the most common chronic disease that affects 5 Ĺ million women is called Endometriosis. Although the disease most commonly occurs in childless women between the ages of 25-40, endometriosis can affect women including those with children at any time during the
childbearing years. In fact it is estimated that endometriosis affects as many as one in seven women of reproductive age in the United States.
    Occurs when endometrial tissue, the tissue that lines the uterus and is shed during menstruation. It grows outside of the uterus where it doesn't belong. On the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the ligaments that support the uterus and other organs in the pelvic cavity. Other possible sites of the endometriosis can appear almost anywhere in the body. The disease starts off as small spots of tissue, it can grow into large clumps, if it covers the surface of the ovary through which an egg is to be released, then ovulation can be blocked. It can also spread and attach to other organs such as the fallopian tubes, bowels or appendix. The ovaries can also be susceptible to inflammation and swelling of the ovary itself. In some cases scar tissue may form on the fallopian tubes and ovaries, blocking the release of the egg and it's passage through the tube toward the
uterus. This in turn may prevent a women from being able to become pregnant. It can also interfere with ovulation. Like the lining of the uterus areas of endometriosis respond to the hormones of the menstrual cycle. The endometrial areas build up tissue during each month then breaks down and bleed during menstruation However, when endometrial growths outside the uterus bleed, they can irritate the body. The bleeding produced by the endometrial growths is the same blood and tissue that is produced during a normal menstrual flow. Your body reacts to this bleeding by surrounding the blood and tissue with scar tissue. The build-up of scar tissue is what causes many women with endometriosis to experience chronic pelvic pain.
    What causes Endometriosis?
  The cause of endo is unknown; however diagnosis is considered uncertain until proven by Laparoscopy, a minor surgical procedure anastasia A Laparoscopy usually shows the location, size and extent of it. The only 100% sure way to diagnose endo is to look in the pelvis during surgery and removing it for microscopic examination. Also Ultrasound, CT and MRI can give limited information about cysts, but not all women with endo have cysts and not all cysts are endo. CA125 levels in the blood are not a good indicator for endo. Still surgery remains the only certain way to diagnose endo.
    What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
  The most common one is pain, other symptoms include:

* Severe Menstrual Cramps
* Pelvic and Back Pain
* Infertility
* Fatigue
* Painful bowel movements and during urination
* Bloating
* Painful pelvic exams and pain with exercise
* Diarrhea, nausea and constipation
* Pain with intercourse

And there are others, of course not every women has every symptom, but these are the most common ones.
    Who gets it?
  The simple answer is, we don't know for sure. However; there are several theories:
  Sampson's Theory = The oldest and most widely taught theory is that menstrual blood sometimes flows backwards into the pelvis. That is, instead of draining out of the body through the vagina, the theory holds that the menstrual fluid backs up the fallopian tubes and drips into the pelvis, where it attaches to any surface and establishes a blood supply. If the Sampson's theory is correct, endometriosis is not possible until a girl's first period occurs.
  Metaplasia Theory = In the embryo cells with the potential to mature multiple ways develop is the wrong way in the wrong location. These misplaced cells are present at birth.
  Congenital Theory = In the embryo cells that are intended to form the uterus get left out when the uterus closes before they arrive. The leftover cells are generally found along the collomic ridge and are present at birth.
  Vascular Theory = This theory holds that the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) moves through the body via blood vessels. It reaches various tissues and then implants and survives.              
    Treatment Options:
  Although there is no cure for endo, a varity of treatment options exist. All treatments for endo can be classified into the following five categories:
  Observation = This may occur when a diagnosis of endo is first considered. Before beginning aggressive treatment a watchful "wait and see" period, may be useful to see if symptoms are significant on their own. It is not a good option when symptoms are significant or the pelvic exam shows progressive changes.
  Pain Medication = Over-the-counter pain relievers may include aspirin ibuprofen and in some cases prescription drugs may be required.
  Pregnancy = It's not a cure for endo. During pregnancy, ovulation stops. The endo implants generally become less active and may get smaller and less tender. This seems to be the result of the hormonal changes pregnancy brings, menstruation stops and many women with endo feel much better while they are pregnant
  Surgery = (conservative surgery) seeks to remove or destroy the growths, it can involve Laparoscopy which the surgeon can view the inside of the abdominal through a tiny lighted tube there may be one or more tiny abdominal incisions.
  (Radical surgery) which may be necessary in severe cases and a hysterectomy for removal of all growths and removal of ovaries.
  Lupron Depot = Is a shot that works by interrupting normal menstruation and the production of estrogen, the female hormone that stimulates the growth of the endometrial tissue. Because use of lupron depot places a women in menopause state by lowering the levels of estrogen in her body, the stimulation of the growth of endometriosis is decreased. As a result lesions can regress and pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis can be diminished.
    Lupron Depot is an injection that can be given once every month (3.75 mg) or once every three months (11.25 mg.)
  Remember: It is important that you stay on the lupron depot for a full 6 months. Research has shown that 6 months of GNRH a therapy offers better symphonic relief than a shorter course of treatment.
    Side Affects of Lupron Depot
* Hot flashes
* Headaches
* Vaginal dryness
* A small amount of bone mineral loss (3.2%)

Prevention Magazine Health Book
Title: The Female Body: An Owner's Manual copyright 1996
By: Rodale Press, Inc.
*Got from a book I have at home*

Endometriosis Association
6585 N. 76th Place
Milwaukee, WI 53232 U.S.A.
Phone# (414) 355-2200
Fax#     (414) 355-6065
copyright in 2002
By: Endometriosis Association
*Got off line from the research I was doing*

Understanding Endometriosis is only part of the picture
*A book that I got from the Doctor's Office*

    Written in 2002/Copyright in 2003


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