Endometriosis Q & A
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue lining of your uterus grows outside of that organ. The presence of that tissue, known as endometrium, causes significant pain in your pelvic region and can lead to serious complications.
Endometriosis is also notoriously difficult to diagnose. Many women suffer for years before they receive the proper diagnosis and begin an effective treatment path. It’s important to seek medical care if you notice any of the symptoms of endometriosis.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis and is often what brings women to Unified Premier Women’s Care for diagnostic services. Additional symptoms include:
- Abnormally painful periods
- Pain during intercourse, bowel movements, or urination
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
Endometriosis can range from mild to moderate, but the intensity of your pain isn’t a good indicator of how advanced your endometriosis has become.
Endometriosis symptoms are also commonly associated with ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, and even irritable bowel syndrome. That can make it difficult to get an accurate diagnosis, which can be frustrating for both women and their medical specialists.
What are the treatment options for endometriosis?
The first step is getting to the bottom of your symptoms, a process that involves a pelvic exam and ultrasound imaging. Your specialist might also use magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) or a simple surgical procedure called laparoscopy to diagnose endometriosis.
You’ll receive a customized treatment plan developed to meet your specific set of needs. Pain medication might play a role in your treatment or could help ease your discomfort while other treatments take effect. Hormone therapy can be a great option for many women.
Some hormone therapies control the hormones that prompt your body to create endometrial tissue. Others focus on blocking the production of estrogen entirely, which effectively creates early menopause.
There are also surgical options for treating endometriosis. Conservative surgery removes endometrial tissue outside of the uterus while preserving your uterus and ovaries. This is a good option if you might want to become pregnant in the future.
Hysterectomy is a more involved surgical procedure that removes your uterus and ovaries. This can be a good option if you’re over the age of 35 and sure you don’t want to become pregnant.
If you’re living with pelvic pain or abnormally heavy periods, schedule an appointment at Unified Premier Women’s Care for a full diagnostic workup.