It is generally believed that with the onset of menopause, all gynecological diseases in women disappear by themselves, including endometriosis after 50 years can be considered a non-issue. But in fact the situation is not as rosy as we would like and in theory should be.
In the menopausal and premenopausal period, the course of the disease has its own characteristics and manifestations. The impact of menopause on the course of the disease can be assessed by understanding what it is, the reasons why it occurs, whether it is possible in principle its natural cessation or requires medication treatment.
What is age-related endometriosis
First of all, it is worthwhile to understand what is endometriosis as a disease. The name comes from the word “endometrium”, referring to the inner mucosa of the uterus, which in the normal state does not overgrow and keeps its shape. A condition in which endometrial cells grow into and out of the uterus is called endometriosis. Since estrogen produced by the ovaries is involved in the growth of endometrial tissue, this condition is usually diagnosed in women of reproductive age.
Its development is associated with the reflux of blood during menstruation through the fallopian tubes into the abdominal cavity – the space in which the liver, stomach and intestines are located. In the place where the tissues were affected, they can bleed, which leads to inflammation, and then to the emergence and development of adhesions. However, there are known cases when manifestations of the ailment are found in the postmenopause, and for the first time.
The main manifestations of the disease
Quite often endometriosis after 50, as well as at a younger age, proceeds without special manifestations, diagnosed accidentally during ultrasound examinations, routine examinations. But it may have these symptoms:
- Lower abdominal pain during your period and the day before, radiating to the perineum, sacrum, lower back;
- oozing before and after menstruation;
- Soreness during intercourse;
- prolonged and heavy bleeding during menstruation;
- Emptying of the bowels and bladder accompanied by pain;
- impaired reproductive function;
- blood in the urine and stool – in case of atypical localization.
Frequent and significant blood loss leads to symptoms such as decreased hemoglobin levels in the blood, tearful mood, general fatigue, and drowsiness. However, even if the majority of these manifestations are present, this does not mean that a woman after 50 has endometriosis.
Causes of the disease in women after fifty
The causes of the appearance and development of endometriosis in women after 50 can be the same factors as in younger age, namely:
- diabetes mellitus;
- reduced immunity;
- cardiovascular disorders;
- Negative genetics – endometriosis in the mother or grandmother;
- Occurrence of hormonal imbalance;
- Abdominal blood flowing into the abdominal cavity of menstrual blood;
- excessive body weight;
- poor ecology;
- Prolonged inflammatory diseases of the genitals;
- A history of abortion, surgery;
- Use as a contraceptive intrauterine device;
- radiation exposure;
- the presence of bad habits.
In addition, in some cases, endometriosis after 50 may also develop due to the degeneration of normal cells into structurally identical endometrial cells. At this age, the occurrence of the disease may also lead to the prescription of medical therapy to level out menopausal manifestations.
Consequences of the disease after 50 years of age
Diagnosing women with endometriosis after 50 years of age and ignoring the fact of its presence, as in earlier age, can lead to very serious consequences. So, in addition to infertility and chronic pregnancy failure, which are not relevant at this age, the disease is fraught with such unpleasant manifestations as chronic pelvic pain syndrome. Painful sensations may increase significantly during sexual intercourse, as well as during cold weather.
Pain irradiates in this case to the perineum area or the anus area. However, this is not the biggest problem that may befall you if you are diagnosed with endometriosis. Endometrioid foci at this age are much more likely to have a tendency to degenerate into malignant processes. Approximately 1-11% of women with endometriosis develop cancer.
Symptoms of endometriosis in ladies after 50 years of age
Symptoms of endometriosis in women after 50 do not differ much from the general manifestations in other age groups, if this woman had them. As you know, very often the disease has an asymptomatic course. However, in severe cases and when a woman in the presence of extragenital endometriosis, localized in the diaphragm, intestines, kidneys, ureters, inguinal canal, lungs, limbs, spine, and also when spreading to the peritoneum, the pain may become very severe and result in disability.
Endometriosis patients after 50 years of age are often characterized by manifestations such as irritability, tearfulness, and an unbalanced psyche. In addition, such women complain of dizziness and headaches, heavy bleeding, discomfort during intercourse. Endometriosis after 50 can have a prolonged nature and lead more quickly to the emergence of cancer.
Treatment of the disease in the postmenopause
Treatment of endometriosis in women after 50 has its own characteristics and is primarily aimed against the pain syndrome to alleviate the general condition, if the cessation of menses and changes in hormonal background did not affect positively the overall picture, did not negate the symptoms, did not stop the development of the disease. Spasmodics, prostaglandin inhibitors and analgesics are used to treat painful sensations.
However, the age of 50+ is dangerous for women because of the pathological consequences of the disease. Therefore, surgical removal of the uterus, and in some cases, the ovaries, acts as an alternative to conservative treatment to avoid the risk of cancer development and relapse. The operation is usually carried out by laparoscopy, i.e. through small incisions. Painful sensations after surgery in this case are minimal, and rehabilitation is much faster.