The inner lining of the uterus, the endometrium, begins to develop in other places with endometriosis. Usually the endometrial lining is shed through the vagina during menstrual periods, but when it begins to grow in places other than the uterine lining, it has no way to be expelled as it normally would. Endometriosis frequently involves the ovaries, bowels or pelvic tissues.
Endometriosis may cause severe pain, especially during your period. It may also lead to fertility problems. Women also frequently experience painful sex, painful urination/bowel movements, excessively heavy periods, and fatigue. You should see your doctor if you have chronic or severe pain that you can’t explain.
The cause of endometriosis is unknown, but gynecologists believe it results from fragments of the endometrium traveling back up through the fallopian tubes and passing into the pelvic region, rather than being expelled during menstruation. This is called retrograde menstruation.
Often, endometriosis can only be definitively diagnosed with a laparoscopic surgical procedure, unless your doctor is able to detect cysts that have formed from endometriosis through an ultrasound.
During laparoscopy, your surgeon makes a small incision and uses a small surgical camera with an attached light called a laparoscope to look for endometrial tissues outside of the inner uterine lining, and if found, a sample is taken for biopsy. Laparoscopic surgery can help determine the location, extent and size of the problem, and is useful in coming to a treatment course.
Endometriosis is often treated with medication or surgery to reduce the tissue growth and relieve pain, but it is unfortunately incurable. Treatment for endometriosis may include:
- Birth control pills or intrauterine devices
- Gn-RH antagonist drugs to block ovarian-stimulating hormones.
If you are looking for options and treatments for endometriosis, West Medical can help. If symptoms of endometriosis are keeping you from living comfortably, please call our West Medical Gynecology offices at (855) 690-0565 to set up an appointment.
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