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Endometriosis in Elderly Women

By Dr. Shaveta Gupta in Obstetrics And Gynaecology

May 02 , 2023 | 1 min read

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Endometriosis is a gynaecological condition that affects millions of women worldwide, causing chronic pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, and infertility. Commonly diagnosed in women of reproductive age, endometriosis can also affect older women.

Endometriosis is a painful condition where tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, such as in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and other pelvic organs. The tissue responds to the hormonal changes of the menstrual cycle just like the tissue inside the uterus, causing inflammation, pain, and scar tissue formation.

As women age and approach menopause, their estrogen levels decline, which can reduce the symptoms of endometriosis. However, for some women, endometriosis can continue to be a problem even after menopause. Studies have shown up to 5% of women over 60 may have endometriosis.

One reason why endometriosis can persist in older women is because the tissue may have already spread to other body parts, like the intestines or bladder. Additionally, hormonal replacement therapy (HRT) can also cause endometriosis to flare in women previously diagnosed with the condition.

Symptoms of endometriosis in older women may be less severe than in younger women, but they can still cause discomfort and impact quality of life. These symptoms may include pelvic pain, bloating, constipation, and painful intercourse.

Diagnosing endometriosis in older women can be challenging, as the symptoms may be attributed to other conditions common in this age group, such as irritable bowel syndrome or bladder infections. A pelvic exam, ultrasound, and MRI may be used to confirm a diagnosis, and a biopsy of the tissue may be necessary.

Treatment for endometriosis in older women may involve pain management, hormone therapy, or surgery. HRT may need to be adjusted or stopped, depending on the severity of symptoms. Surgery may be necessary to remove the tissue and any scar tissue that has formed, but this is a more invasive option and may not be suitable for all patients.

In conclusion, endometriosis can affect women of all ages, including older women. While the symptoms may be less severe, they can still impact the quality of life and require treatment. If you or a loved one experiences symptoms of endometriosis, talk to a healthcare provider to determine the best course of action.