To understand how menopause affects endometriosis, you first need to understand a little background about Endometriosis.
It is a condition effected by fluctuations in hormone levels as symptoms occur when there is a higher level of estrogen or female hormone in the blood.
In the lining of the uterus are endometrial tissues that fill with blood prior to the ovary releasing an egg in case the egg becomes fertilized. This produces a deep spongy base for the egg to sink into and develop from.
Should there be no pregnancy, the hormones change and the body sheds the unwanted endometrium lining. There is sometimes pain and discomfort associated with menstruation, but this tends to be minor when compared to someone suffering from Endometriosis.
The problems start when the Endermetrial tissues grow in other parts of the body. Endometrial tissues can be found in some women in their intestines, bladder, bowel and colon. Less commonly, in the spine, brain and lungs or on the skin.
During and before menstruation, a woman’s estrogen level is elevated. Estrogen is the hormone that makes endometrial tissues grow, shed and bleed on a monthly basis. When endometrial tissues are present in different areas of the body, that process causes pain, as there is nowhere for the blood to go, causing inflammation and adhesions.
Menopause as a solution
You can see why menopause has been viewed by some women and experts as an eventual solution to the problems arising from the symptoms of endometriosis. As once menopause is reached (defined as having no period for 12 months) estrogen levels are significantly .
Many women find relief from endometriosis during menopause. That is because there is no fluctuations in the estrogen levels. So, most women do not suffer the painful episodes anymore.
Some women who are not yet at their menopausal period prefer to accelerate or force menopause by having their ovaries surgically removed.
Some women, even in the mid 20s or 30s choose to be menopausal, at least in the technical sense, in exchange of permanent relief from the regular pains experienced in endometriosis attacks.
However, there are also several studies that find that in some cases, endometriosis may recur even during and after menopause. There is no specific and exact explanation for this occurrence but studies suggest that it is because small amounts of estrogen is still secreted by the female body even after menopause.
Those who have their ovaries surgically removed are not exempted from having a reoccurrence of endometriosis. However, the percentage of women suffering any further symptoms is significantly lower.
Endometriosis and menopause are separate but interrelated conditions. Entering menopause can remove symptomatic pains of endometriosis. However, for most women this does not naturally occur until they are in their 50s or 60s.
By: Shelley Ross
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