Endometriosis of the Appendix

Endometriosis of the Appendix

OVERVIEW

What is appendiceal endometriosis?

Endometriosis is defined as the growth of tissue resembling the endometrium or the lining of the uterus, outside the uterus. This usually occurs in or around the reproductive organs. However in rare cases, the disease can spread to the bladder, kidneys, lungs, and/or bowels, including the appendix.

How common is endometriosis of the appendix?

It is not known how common endometriosis of the appendix is, and there is great variation in the rate of appendiceal involvement with numbers ranging from 1 to 22 percent.

endometriosis in appenix
Endometriotic implant on the appendix

CAUSES

Why does endometriosis affect the appendix?

The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, and it is also not known why the disease sometimes spreads to other areas such as the kidneys, diaphragm, or appendix.

One hypothesis is retrograde menstruation where the menstrual blood carrying endometrial debris flows backward into the fallopian tubes and subsequently implants and forms lesions [2].

Other theories include [1]:

  • The coelomic metaplasia theory, which suggests that the peritoneal cavity — or the space within the abdomen that contains the intestines, stomach, and liver — houses progenitor cells or cells capable of differentiating into endometrial tissue in response to a specific signal.

  • The induction theory, which suggests that the endometrium, or uterine lining which is shed during menstruation, produces substances to form endometriosis.

  • The cellular immunity theory, which suggests that alterations in the immune system allow endometrial cells to grow outside the uterus.

SYMPTOMS

What symptoms could signal appendiceal endometriosis?

Appendiceal endometriosis can cause a wide range of symptoms including symptoms of acute appendicitis such as a sudden pain that begins on the right side of the lower abdomen and that worsens with movement, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting, abdominal bloating, constipation or diarrhea, and fever [3]. However, unlike acute appendicitis, endometriosis of the appendix usually causes pain that comes and goes with the menstrual cycle[1].

Are there different types of appendiceal endometriosis?

Patients who have appendiceal endometriosis can be divided into four groups depending on their symptoms [1]. They may experience:

  • the symptoms of acute appendicitis

  • appendiceal invaginations

  • abdominal colic, nausea, and melena, or black stools

  • no symptoms

DIAGNOSIS

How can appendiceal endometriosis be diagnosed?

It is difficult to diagnose endometriosis of the appendix since the symptoms are very similar to those of acute appendicitis.

One of the most important tools for diagnosing endometriosis of the appendix is a physical examination. However, imaging techniques such as CT scans can also help diagnose the condition. The surest method for a definitive diagnosis, however, is laparoscopic surgery [1].

Importance of early diagnosis

It is very important that the endometriosis of the appendix is diagnosed early so that the disease can be treated appropriately. If left untreated, appendiceal endometriosis can lead to bleeding or perforation in the intestines and obstruction of the bowels [1].

TREATMENT

How is appendiceal endometriosis treated?

Appendectomy or the surgical removal of the appendix is the best way to treat appendiceal endometriosis. In more severe cases, an ileocecectomy — or the surgical removal of the ileum, a part of the small intestine — or hemicolectomy, the removal of a segment of the colon, may be necessary [4].

New research

An interventional clinical trial (NCT01921634) is currently recruiting an estimated 100 participants at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in the U.S. to assess whether the incidence of appendiceal endometriosis is related to the method of pathologic analysis [5].

The rate of appendiceal involvement of endometriosis varies greatly ranging from 1 percent to as high as 22 percent. Researchers hypothesize that the way in which the specimen is analyzed could partly explain this wide disparity. This clinical trial will investigate how the method of pathological analysis influences the incidence of appendiceal endometriosis.

Women ages 18 to 51 who have their appendix removed at the time of laparoscopy to treat their endometriosis and/or pelvic pain are eligible to take part in the study.

Patient Story

A Endo

"Being a freshman in college was enough stress, the last thing I needed was this disease bringing me down. Together, Dr. Seckin, my parents, and I decided surgery was the best option. Going in with no guarantee of success I put all my trust in Dr. Seckin knowing I was in good hands. I am happy to say that now, two weeks after my surgery I feel GREAT! Dr. Seckin removed 15 suspicious adhesions and a very fatty, unhealthy, inflamed appendix. Aside from expected soreness from the surgery, I am confident that I am on the right track back to my old self. "

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REFERENCES

[1]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3082229/#B17

[2]: https://www.endofound.org/sampsons-theory-of-retrograde-menstruation

[3]:https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/appendicitis/symptoms-causes/syc-20369543

[4]: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3199711/

[5]: https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT01921634

 

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Patient Reviews

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  • Anna Lu

    Dr. Seckin and his staff spared me from years and years of heavy periods and unbearable endometriosis pain. After having surgery with him (my first) I can now function like a regular human. No more eating NSAIDs like candy and calling out sick from work. Thank you, Dr. Seckin!

  • Sheena Wright

    I underwent surgery with Dr. Seckin in 2017 and have felt like a new woman ever since. If you have, or suspect you have endometriosis, Dr. Seckin and his compassionate team of surgeons and staff are a must-see.

  • Angela Aro

    I have struggled with endometriosis and adenomyosis since first starting my period at 13. I was diagnosed at 21 and what followed was a series of unsuccessful surgeries and treatments. My case was very aggressive and involved my urinary tract system and my intestines. After exhausting all of my local doctors I was lucky enough to find Dr. Seckin. We…

  • Emi O

    Seckin and Dr. Goldstein changed my life!

  • Kristin Sands

    Like so many women who have tirelessly sought a correct diagnosis and proper, thorough medical treatment for endometriosis, I found myself 26 years into this unwanted journey without clear answers or help from four previous gynecological doctors and two emergency laparoscopic surgeries. I desperately wanted to avoid the ER again; a CT scan for appendicitis also revealed a likely endometrioma…

  • Wilfredo Reyes

    Dr. Seckin literally gave my wife her life back. I am eternally grateful to him for his generous, determined spirit to see that Melanie finally live free from the prison bonds of Endometriosis.

  • Carla

    I am so grateful to Dr Seckin and Dr. Goldstein. My experience was nothing short of amazing. I was misdiagnosed with the location of my fibroids and have had a history of endometriosis. Dr. Seckin was the one who accurately diagnosed me. Dr Seckin and Dr. Goldstein really care about their patients and it shows. They listened to my concerns,…

  • Melissa Boudreau

    When I think of Dr. Seckin these are the words that come to mind. Gratitude, grateful, life-changing, a heart of gold. I feel compelled to give you a bit of background so you can understand the significance of this surgery for me. I am passionate about Endometriosis because it has affected me most of my life and I have a…

  • Jaclyn Harte

    Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein radically changed my quality of life. They treat their patients with dignity & respect that I've personally never seen in the literally 25+ doctors I've seen for endometriosis. This summer, I had a surgery with Dr. Seckin & Goldstein. It was my first with them, but my 5th endo surgery. I couldn't believe the difference,…

  • Megan Rafael Moreno

    I was in pain for 2 years. I was getting no answers, and because dr Goldstein and dr seckins were willing to see and treat me I'm finally feeling almost back to normal. They were very down to earth and helpful in my time of need. Dr Goldstein was easy to talk to and caring, she took care of me…

  • Nancy Costa

    Dr. Seckin is one of the best endometriosis surgeon. Every time I go to the office, he really listens to me and is always concerned about my issues. Dr Seckin's office staff are a delight and they always work with me. I feel I can leave everything to them and they will take care of it. Thank you to the…

  • Rebecca Black

    Fast forward 5 years to find out incidentally I had a failing kidney. My left kidney was only functioning at 18%. During this time, I was preparing all my documents to send to Dr. Seckin to review. However, with this new information I put everything on hold and went to a urologist. After a few months, no one could figure…

  • Monique Roberts

    I'll never stop praising Dr. Seckin and his team. He literally gave me back my life.

  • Erin Brehm

    I had a wonderful experience working with Dr. Seckin and his team before, during and after my surgery. I came to Dr. Seckin having already had laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis 5 years prior, with a different surgeon. My symptoms and pain had returned, making my life truly challenging and my menstrual cycle unbearable. Dr. Seckin was quick to validate my…