Women’s Healthcare Expert Marla Ahlgrimm Talks Endometriosis
In this brief but informative Q & A session, Marla Ahlgrimm answers questions about a painful but common condition that affects many women.
Q: What is endometriosis?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Endometriosis is a condition where uterine tissue doesn’t grow where it’s supposed to. It commonly involves the tissue lining of the pelvis, bowels, and ovaries. Rarely, endometrial tissue may be found outside the pelvic region.
Q: What are the symptoms?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Endometriosis can cause a number of uncomfortable, or downright painful, symptoms. Extreme cramping that may spread to the lower back is common. Painful bowel movements and urination are likely and they often worsen during menstruation. Menorrhagia (excessive bleeding) and breakthrough bleeding are not unheard of as well.
Q: What causes endometriosis?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Experts can’t agree on one specific cause of endometriosis. However, there are several possible conditions that may be linked to improperly implanted endometrial tissue. The most likely cause of endometriosis is retrograde menstruation. This is when blood flow is reversed and endometrial cells enter the pelvic cavity. These displaced cells grow with each menstrual cycle.
Embryonic cell growth is another possible trigger for endometriosis. Surgical scar implantation, endometrial cell transport, and certain immune system disorders may also be prompts. Untreated, endometriosis can lead to infertility. Up to half of all women with endometriosis experience infertility to some degree.
Q: Who is at risk?
Marla Ahlgrimm: Although endometriosis may occur at any time, it is most common in women who have had their period for a number of years. There are, however, a few factors that increase a woman’s risk of developing endometriosis. These include uterine abnormalities, medical conditions that affect the menstrual flow, family history, and never giving birth. Using a bioidentical progesterone cream may improve endometriosis.