by Tamer Seckin, MD | Posted on July 13, 2020
Endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, causing minimal to extensive fibrosis. The disease often adversely affects the functions of the reproductive organs, bowels, and bladder. It can also involve the kidneys. The primary involvement of the kidneys is very rare—kidney endometriosis is often secondary due to a condition called hydroureter (blockage of the ureters).
Endometriosis of the kidneys is extremely rare, and there are only a few reported cases, but increased endometriosis awareness could change this number. The condition reportedly accounts for less than 1 percent of urinary tract endometriosis, which mostly affects the bladder and only accounts for 1.2 percent of all endometriosis cases .
The exact cause of endometriosis is not known, and it is even less clear why the condition can affect the kidneys.
Endometrial lesions thicken and shed in response to the ebb and flow of sex hormones during a menstrual cycle. It is thought that this sometimes leads to the formation of endometrioma or endometrial cysts in the kidneys . However, the exact cause is not known. Some researchers think that an overactive immune response may play a role in endometrial lesions infiltrating the kidneys.
With each menstrual cycle, more endometrial cysts can accumulate in the kidneys. These cysts may invade the renal capsule, or the fibrous layer surrounding the kidneys, and cause pain. Blood clots may block the ureter and lead to renal colic, a type of kidney pain.
As the condition progresses, the endometrial cysts may even distort the shape of the kidneys and interfere with their normal function.
Kidney endometriosis can be asymptomatic for several years and be discovered by chance while a patient is being tested for other conditions .
If a woman who has undergone surgery to treat endometriosis has ongoing urinary problems, it may suggest the presence of urinary tract or kidney endometriosis.
The following symptoms may suggest that a woman may have kidney endometriosis:
Endometriosis of the kidneys is relatively unknown among physicians, and, as a result, patients are often misdiagnosed with kidney cancer. This can lead to delayed treatment, or the patient being wrongly treated.
A specialist should carefully review the patient’s medical history, followed by a pelvic examination. Tell-tale kidney endometriosis symptoms include lower back pain and blood in the urine that comes and goes with the menstrual cycle. Another sign of kidney endometriosis is when the patient’s symptoms disappear with hormonal treatment, such as birth control. Imaging tests such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans or contrast-enhanced computed tomography (CECT) can also help visualize endometrial lesions in and around the kidneys . However, the way to definitively diagnose kidney endometriosis is via histopathologic examination or the examination of kidney tissue that is obtained using a biopsy, but this approach is very invasive and can lead to complications .
Kidney endometriosis can lead to kidney damage and even kidney failure if left untreated. GnRH agonists and oral contraceptives may be used to manage the symptoms of kidney endometriosis, just like any other kind of endometriosis. However, the best approach is to treat the condition by removing endometrial lesions with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. This should be performed by a team of surgeons specializing in gynecological, adrenal, and urological laparoscopic surgery as there is a high risk of complications including damage to the bowel, bladder, ureter, and the organs’ corresponding blood vessels .
Although endometriosis typically infiltrates the reproductive organs, bowels, and bladder, the disease has other horrifying manifestations. Albeit rare, endometriosis can silently kill function in one or both kidneys. This is called ureteral endometriosis (endometriosis involving the ureters). If endo wraps around one or both ureters, it can cause swelling in the kidney and, left untreated, kidney loss.
Elina Kharnak is one of the unlucky few; in April, she was diagnosed with kidney endo when it was already too late.
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There aren’t enough stars for Seckin Endometriosis. They deserve 100/ 5. I want to make sure every woman right now who is looking for help, who is looking for a doctor and is scared and confused knows this is where you need to be. It doesn’t matter if you have to come from the other side of the United States or from the other side of the world, I can guarantee it will be worth it. Every member of their…
I’ve seen many obgyns over the years explaining my monthly symptoms during my period...but eventually it became a daily struggle with these pain. It feels like a poke here and there near my right pelvic region. I was given birth control pills for the past ten years but honestly, it didn’t help at all. I was in bed whenever I had my period. I was previously sent to GI doctors for possible appendicitis but it was ruled out from imagings…
Dr.Seckin is so much more than a surgeon. His passion for helping endometriosis sufferers and determination to improve the quality of life in all of his patients is undeniable. I remember when my gynecologist first told me I needed a laparoscopy. Her exact words were "I can do the surgery, but if you were MY daughter- I'd send you to him." From the first day I met him he took the time to explain endometriosis to me since I knew…
I was there for hysterectomy but then I found out that I also had endometriosis.My both surgeries went excellent and I feel great!.I am so thankful to Dr.Seckin and all his team for making my journey smooth!
I am a physician who suffered from deep infiltrative endometriosis. I needed laparoscopic surgery, so I went to see my former gynaecologist and he performed the procedure (a surgery which he supposedly does hundreds of times a year) last November. I had severe pain again when I had my period in January and was advised to go on taking a low hormone dose anticoncipient pill. My symptoms came back quickly and got worse in a few months’ time. I went…
After years of excessively painful periods, a serious loss of quality of life, and a series of uninformed and uninterested doctors, Dr. Seckin and Dr. Goldstein turned my life around. I was told I woke up from my surgery almost a year ago with a smile on my face, and I haven't stopped since. Before I heard of Dr. Seckin, I was experiencing almost daily terrible pain to the point where I had difficulty walking, inability to eat, inexplicable weight…
Dr Seckin and his team gave me back my life! Tomorrow will be 1 month since my surgery and I feel great. Dr. Seckin, Dr Liu, and Dr Goldstein are not only beyond words talented and amazing Doctors, but they are also genuinely wonderful and caring people. I cannot say enough great things about Holly, Asiye and Kim as well. They were all caring, kind, patient, and took the time to listen to me and explain anything I needed to…