Intestinal endometriosis: what it is, symptom, causes and treatment
Intestinal endometriosis is when endometrial tissue, which lines the inside of the uterus, grows in the intestine, making it difficult for it to function and causing symptoms such as altered bowel habits and severe abdominal pain, especially during menstruation.
When endometrial cells are found only on the outside of the intestine, intestinal endometriosis is called superficial, but when they penetrate the inner wall of the intestine, it is classified as deep endometriosis.
In milder cases, where the endometrial tissue has not spread much, the treatment indicated by the doctor consists of the use of hormonal drugs, however, in more severe cases, the doctor may recommend performing surgery to reduce the amount of endometrial tissue. and thus alleviate the symptoms.
Intestinal endometriosis can cause symptoms such as:
- Difficulty evacuating;
- Pain in the abdomen during intimate contact;
- Pain in the lower abdomen;
- Persistent diarrhea;
- Persistent pain during menstruation;
- Presence of blood in the stool.
These symptoms tend to get worse during menstruation, but they can also appear outside the menstrual period, being confused with other intestinal problems, such as irritable bowel.
It is still common for intestinal endometriosis not to cause symptoms, being identified in routine exams, such as colonoscopy, for example.
Endometriosis online test
If you think you may have endometriosis, select your symptoms to find out what your chances are:
The cause of intestinal endometriosis is not fully known, but during menstruation, blood with endometrial cells can, instead of being eliminated through the cervix, return in the opposite direction and reach the intestinal wall, in addition to being able to affect the ovaries, causing ovarian endometriosis. Learn about the symptoms and how to treat ovarian endometriosis.
In addition, some doctors associate the occurrence of intestinal endometriosis with previous surgeries performed on the uterus, which can end up spreading endometrial cells in the abdominal cavity and affecting the intestine. However, women who have close family members, such as a mother or sister, with intestinal endometriosis may be at greater risk of developing the same disease.
How to confirm the diagnosis
To confirm the diagnosis of intestinal endometriosis, the gastroenterologist will indicate imaging tests such as transvaginal ultrasound, computed tomography, videolaparoscopy or barium enema, which will also help to rule out other intestinal diseases that may have similar symptoms such as irritable bowel syndrome, appendicitis and Crohn’s disease, for example. See how these tests are done to diagnose intestinal endometriosis.
How is the treatment done?
Treatment for intestinal endometriosis should be indicated by the gastroenterologist according to the symptoms presented by the person and severity of endometriosis, and in most cases surgery is indicated to remove the endometrial tissue located in the intestine, which helps to relieve symptoms.
Most surgeries are performed without major cuts, just by laparoscopy with the introduction of surgical instruments through small cuts in the belly. But in some situations, traditional surgery may be necessary, in which a larger incision is made in the abdomen, but this choice is only made after analyzing the areas of the intestine that are affected by endometriosis. Read more about surgery for endometriosis.
After surgery, treatment may need to continue through anti-inflammatory drugs and hormone regulators such as pills, patches, contraceptive injections or IUD use, in addition to following up with a gynecologist and having regular exams to monitor recovery and observe that endometrial tissue does not grow back in the intestine.
Watch the video with Dr. Helizabet Ribeiro, a gynecologist specializing in endometriosis who clarifies all doubts about this disease:
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