Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue similar to endometrium, the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus, grows outside of your uterus. Endometriosis most commonly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining of the pelvis.
With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue functions like the endometrial tissue does by thickening, breaking down and bleeding with each menstrual cycle. Unlike the actual endometrial tissue, this tissue is unable to leave the body and becomes trapped, resulting in pain and possible fertility problems.
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, usually associated with menstrual periods. In addition to painful periods, other common symptoms include:
- Pain with intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Excessive bleeding
Diagnosing endometriosis can be difficult unless there are cysts present. If endometriosis has caused cysts to form, then your doctor may be able to diagnose you through non-invasive tests, such as a pelvic exam or ultrasound. Other tests include an MRI or laparoscopy.
There is currently no known cure for endometriosis, but there are options available to help manage the condition such as:
- Pain medications: depending on the severity of the pain, certain over the counter pain relievers may help ease menstrual cramps.
- Hormone therapy: hormones can be effective in slowing the endometrial tissue growth, helping to reduce or eliminate endometriosis pain. Certain therapies include hormonal contraceptives, progestin therapy, and drugs that can block the production of ovarian-stimulating hormones.
- Surgeries: surgery to remove the endometriosis implants can be effective if the patient is trying to become pregnant, or if she has severe pain from endometriosis, however it is possible that the endometriosis and pain may return.
- Fertility treatment: for women with endometriosis who are having difficulty conceiving, your doctor may refer you to a fertility specialist.
- Hysterectomy: in serious cases, the removal of the uterus and cervix may be an option, resulting in an end of fertility and menstrual cycles.
Contact Us About Endometriosis
If you suffer from endometriosis, or symptoms of endometriosis, call our office at (919) 781-6200 to schedule an appointment to discuss treatment options.