Endometriosis of the intestine: symptoms and treatment
Endometriosis of the intestine is a pathological condition that progresses due to the spread of endometrial cells from other affected organs by hematogenous and lymphogenous pathways. Usually, the disease is diagnosed in women who have a history of endometriosis of the uterus. Most often with this disease affects the sigmoid and rectum, but the process can be localized in other parts of the large intestine.
As mentioned above, endometrial bowel disease develops as a secondary disease, against the backdrop of existing endometriosis of the uterus, ovaries and other organs of the female reproductive system. Therefore, when the patient is diagnosed with endometriosis of the intestine, this means only that the gynecological process was started, which caused the disease to spread.
At the same time, the reasons for the initial development of endometriosis are hormonal disorders that occur in the body of a woman. This can be a hormonal failure due to a disruption in the production of hormones by the pituitary gland, or in case of a malfunction, which is caused by a malfunction of the normal functioning of the ovaries.
Hormonal failure in the body of a woman causes a disruption in the work of not only the organs of the reproductive system, but the whole organism. As a consequence, uncontrolled growth of endometrial cells lining the female genitalia begins.
The second cause of endometriosis is a decrease in immunity. When the protective functions of the body are reduced, it is much easier for bacteria and viruses to penetrate inside, including into the intestine, causing inflammation in it that affects the development of endometriosis. It is important to remember that endometriosis is quite a serious disease. And although the initially proliferating endometrial cells are benign, without treatment, the process can lead to the development of cancer in the affected organs in both the uterus and the ovaries of the woman, and in the intestine. And the treatment of the oncological process will require surgical removal of the affected organ, chemotherapy and hormone replacement therapy, which will reduce the quality of life of the patient, and life expectancy too.
Therefore, the treatment of endometriosis, including the intestine, can not be postponed until later, and as soon as the first symptoms appear, it is necessary to seek medical help.
With such pathology as intestinal endometriosis, the symptoms may not be present at the initial stages of the disease development, and only when the disease begins to progress does they appear. Symptoms of endometriosis of the intestine:
- development of constipation or diarrhea;
- presence of blood in stool;
- the presence of mucus in the stool
- pain that is associated with menstruation (usually it increases in the premenstrual period and during menstruation and becomes unexpressed in the period after menstruation)
- menstrual dysfunction;
- bloating, which also worsens during menstruation;
- Sparing blood from the genital tract of a woman between menstruation.
Sometimes the patient may experience intestinal obstruction, which is a sufficiently serious indication for an urgent operation.
Diagnosis and treatment
In 25% of patients the symptoms of endometriosis of the intestine are absent, therefore the diagnosis of pathology can be based on the presence of symptoms of gynecological endometriosis in the advanced stage. In this case, the patient is sent for additional examination in order to exclude the possibility of spreading the process beyond the genital system.
If the above described symptoms of endometriosis of the intestine are present, an additional diagnosis is still required to confirm the diagnosis and establish the extent of the spread of the process. Common methods that modern diagnostics use are:
- Irrigoscopy makes it possible to see the entire intestine and to detect foci of endometriosis
- Irrigography involves radiographic examination of the affected organ with the introduction of radiopaque substances
- Colonoscopy is a fairly complex method of diagnosis, but its informativeness is very high;
- A biopsy is indicated when a pathology is triggered to exclude or confirm the presence of an oncologic process in the intestine.
Treatment of the disease depends on the stage and the cause that caused it. If the patient has hormonal disorders, the treatment involves correction, for which some hormonal drugs are prescribed. If there are foci of inflammation in the intestine, treatment should include taking antibacterial or antiviral drugs. Also, mandatory treatment should include the use of drugs that increase the patient’s immunity.
In addition, physiotherapeutic treatment is carried out, which, combined with drug therapy, gives good results. However, if the treatment did not work for half a year, and the patient still complains about the symptoms of endometriosis, which is confirmed by diagnostic methods, then surgical removal of the affected areas is shown.