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  • Dr, Tuesday Pearson

Endometrioma Cyst Awareness: Shining a Light on a Common Women's Health Issue



Endometriosis is a common and severe condition that affects approximately 1 in 10 women of reproductive age worldwide. It can affect a woman's physical and mental health, quality of life, and well-being. There's a reason why March has been declared Endometriosis Awareness Month worldwide – now is the time to raise awareness and education to enable early diagnosis and eliminate the stigma around it. There is often misunderstanding about this disease. This article will introduce endometriosis and explore why it is important to start listening and taking action.


What is Endometriosis?


The growth of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus characterizes endometriosis, a persistent medical disorder. The tissue can grow in the pelvic and abdominal cavities, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and surface of the uterus. Ultimately, scar tissue forms, and endometriomas emerge for some individuals, causing painful experiences. Additionally, this endometrioma cyst contains old blood.


What Causes Endometriosis?


When normal tissue in the uterus starts to grow outward, usually in the pelvic area, that’s when endometriosis happens. During pregnancy, tissue like this tears and thickens, resulting in a lot of pain and scarring. Fibrotic lesions and adhesions tend to form when endometrial tissue grows in other organs, even though it’s not supposed to. To note, how long this pathology is doesn’t mean endometrioma cyst symptoms will be severe. Patients can have cysts that come with severe symptoms without visible lesions, or vice versa, or even show no symptoms at all.


Endometriosis patients experience different types of pain, such as pelvic pain, colds, and dyspareunia. They can feel pain from mild to severe. Some people also experience painful or irregular bleeding and fatigue, which may be caused by aches and pains associated with this condition. Unfortunately, it goes without saying that this does make conceiving more difficult because endometriosis causes cancer and infertility problems.


Symptoms of Endometriomas


Endometrioma symptoms present a plethora of issues, including painful intercourse, fertility concerns, heavy menstrual bleeding, and pelvic discomfort. The resulting pain can be intense and hinder the everyday life of an afflicted woman. Proactive diagnosis and treatment are vital as these cysts have the potential to grow and escalate in severity, complicating the situation.


Endometrioma Treatment


Depending on the size of the cyst, severity of symptoms, and fertility concerns, there are different ways to treat endometrioma, a type of endometriosis cyst. For instance, a doctor might choose a watchful waiting approach if the endometrioma cyst is small and symptoms aren't too significant. With this strategy, they'll keep a close eye on the growth of the cyst and the patient's symptoms over time.


The management of pain is essential for treatment. Individuals may choose between over-the-counter pain relievers or prescription medications to manage the pain associated with endometriomas. By controlling the pain, these cysts can become less of a burden and help individuals improve their quality of life.


Treatment options for managing endometriomas and related discomfort include hormonal therapy. This type of therapy can impede the growth of lesions and provide pain relief. Depending on the patient and their personal preferences, this therapy may involve taking birth control pills, inserting progestin-releasing IUDs, or utilizing GnRH agonists. The specific type of hormonal treatment will be determined on a case-by-case basis.


Laparoscopic surgery can be recommended if other treatments are ineffective or if the endometrioma of the ovary is causing severe symptoms. This procedure removes the endometrioma cyst or drains and empties its contents. Careful consideration and discussion with a healthcare provider should be undertaken before deciding to undergo gynecological surgery or endometrioma surgery.


Endometrioma Vs. Ovarian Cyst


Endometriosis can result in pathological cysts, while functional cysts are the other type of ovarian cyst.


Healthy women without endometriosis frequently experience functional ovarian cysts during the menstrual cycle. Follicular cysts and corpus luteum cysts are the two types of functional ovarian cysts.


A follicular cyst arises when a follicle, intended to safeguard an egg, doesn't break as it usually would during ovulation. If it's released at all, the egg still makes its way down the fallopian tubes to the uterus. But if the follicle persists in its growth, it can become a cyst.


The corpus luteum, the leftover from ovulation, prepares the uterus lining for pregnancy by releasing progesterone hormone. In some instances, an endometrioma cyst may form from the fluid accumulation in the corpus luteum.


Usually, both functional cysts are harmless and will disappear after a few months.

When endometriosis affects the ovaries, pathological cysts form.


Endometriosis tissue can grow on the ovary or deep within the ovary. Deep ovarian endometriosis is called endometriosis or ovarian cysts. It causes blood-filled cavities to form in the ovaries. Over time, the blood will darken and look a bit like chocolate. For this reason, ovarian cysts are sometimes called chocolate cysts.


Endometriosis can cause severe pelvic pain and increase the risk of pregnancy. They can damage the lining of the ovaries and cause ovulation problems. They are also associated with the risk of endometrioma cancer.


FAQs


What is the procedure for endometrioma removal?


Resection of ovarian endometriomas can be difficult because the capsule is often tightly packed. While the most preferred treatment method is laparoscopic surgery, the preferred method for optimal treatment is modified combined cystectomy.


How can you tell the difference between hemorrhagic cysts and endometrioma?


It shows in endometrioma vs hemorrhagic cyst ultrasound. The T2 dark spot sign has high specificity for chronic hemorrhage and is useful to differentiate endometriomas from hemorrhagic cysts. The T2 shading sign is sensitive but not specific to endometriomas.


How can endometrioma rupture?


Rupturing an endometrioma is rare, but it can still happen. You’ll find out about it in the endometrioma ultrasound. The most common causes are pressure, trauma from injury, vigorous sex, and any kind of surgical intervention in the pelvic area. Symptoms of a rupture usually consist of severe pain, internal bleeding, and other complications. That’s why it's crucial that, if you feel intense discomfort in your abdomen or pelvis, you make a doctor's appointment as soon as possible. If it is actually a rupture, then surgery will be needed.


Conclusion


Around the world, countless women are affected by endometrioma, a common women's health concern. It is imperative that we increase awareness and education about this condition so that early detection and treatment can be improved and those affected can receive the support they need to enhance their quality of life. By shining a spotlight on endometrioma and bringing it out of the shadows, we can make a meaningful impact in women's lives everywhere.

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