Endometriosis is the gynecological condition that occurs when tissue similar to the endometrial cells of the womb grow outside the uterus in areas such as the Fallopian tubes, vagina, bowel, and even eyes, spine, or lungs. However, strangely, a place where it hasn’t yet been found is the spleen.
This condition happens when the endometrial cells from the uterus do not respond to an adequate amount of progesterone. Endometriosis can be accompanied by severe pelvic pain, heavy periods, infertility, and can even increase the risk for ovarian cancer.
Another inconvenience associated with endometriosis is handling the healthcare costs, which can cost women up to $10,860 per year, which is more than $30 daily.
Since the cause of endometriosis is not known, or at least not yet, there is also no cure. It is also very hard to diagnose, taking for some women up to a decade of battling pain and misdiagnosis until they finally receive their endometriosis diagnosis.
There are no non-invasive methods of diagnosis endometriosis existent either, besides a physician believing a patient’s description of symptoms, that is why diagnosis poses so many issues. The only definitive method of diagnosis being laparoscopy, the surgery in which a narrow tube is inserted inside the body.
After endometriosis is diagnosed there still remains the problem of effective treatments, while some medical practitioners suggest pregnancy, others take into account hysterectomy – but neither of them are a definitive treatment, because endometriosis can recur afterwards.
Another controversial treatment is the use of hormonal contraceptive, but this is not very recommended because it can bring on a range of side effects. There is also medical menopause, which is not exactly a long-term option as it can lead to accidental full menopause.
An option that can actually treat the symptoms and not the condition are painkillers, but these can also come with lasting side effects.
While there are no widely known studies or set-in-stone cure for endometriosis, researchers at Northwestern Medicine decided last year to take the first step toward treating endometriosis, endometrial cancer, and uterine-factor infertility.
The study proved that induced human pluripotent stem (iPS) cells can be bioengineered to become healthy uterine cells and fix defects within the diseased cells. In the future, this could be done via an auto-transplant that will not be rejected by the person’s immune system, this way pain would be eliminated long-term.