Endometriosis affects roughly 10% (190 million) of reproductive-age women and girls globally. In this article, we will discuss whether endometriosis is a fatal disease and about the complications of endometriosis that can be life-threatening.
Is endometriosis considered a fatal disease?
Endometriosis is not considered to be a fatal condition. It is a painful condition which may negatively impact the quality of your life. However, this condition can lead to a few conditions and complications that might be life-threatening. Researchers also state that even though endometriosis is histologically non-cancerous or benign, ectopic endometrial tissue possesses the ability to grow, infiltrate and disseminate with life-threatening results/consequences. But the occurrence of such conditions that might potentially be life-threatening is rare. Also, these can cause death only if they are left untreated. With timely medical intervention, the doctors can ensure the safety of the patient. The potential life-threatening complications of endometriosis include ectopic pregnancy, mental health concerns, and small bowel obstruction.
Which complications of endometriosis can be life-threatening?
Endometriosis can result in the following complications, which could be fatal if untreated:
- Small bowel obstruction
Gastrointestinal involvement of endometriosis has been found in 3%-37% of menstruating women. In the absence of any treatment of the small bowel obstruction, there can be a build-up of pressure, which can possibly lead to a hole in the bowel or bowel perforation. Besides this, a blockage due to tissue growth can also decrease blood supply to the intestines, which can also be fatal.
- Ectopic pregnancy
Endometriosis may also result in ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized ovum implants outside of the uterine cavity. This can cause the fallopian tube to rupture, which can lead to internal bleeding. It is the leading cause of maternal mortality in the first trimester and accounts for 10%–15% of all maternal deaths.
- Mental Health Illness
Endometriosis my also lead to some mental health conditions, including depression and anxiety, and reduced quality of life. In the absence of proper treatment, these conditions can be fatal if the severity is high.
Other than these complications, endometriosis may also increase the risk of comorbidities such as certain cancers and cardiovascular diseases. These comorbidities are also common causes of death. However, until now, little is known about the mortality of women with endometriosis.
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