Have you always had unusually painful periods? What about pain during intercourse or urinations? Ouch! Are you having trouble getting pregnant? If you’ve answered yes to any of these questions, you may want to get checked for endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition characterized by the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) growing in locations other than the uterus (like the ovaries or the fallopian tubes).
Some of the symptoms of endometriosis include:
Please schedule a visit with your OB/GYN if you are experiencing some of these symptoms. Your doctor will perform a pelvic exam and likely an ultrasound as well. The ultrasound is able to detect abnormalities like cysts that have grown as a result of the displaced endometrium. If endometriosis is indeed suspected, you will be referred to a surgeon for a surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. That is, the surgeon will make a small incision on your abdomen and insert a viewing device that will be able to ‘see’ the displaced tissue.
What can you do if you are diagnosed with Endometriosis?
There are a number of treatments depending on the severity of the particular case. Most patients are given some sort of hormone therapy like birth control pills or a related drug. This type of therapy slows the growth and prevents new growths.
Sometimes surgery is recommended, particularly if you are trying to get pregnant. The aim of the surgery is to physically remove the growths wherever they may be found.
In very severe cases of Endometriosis, it is sometimes recommended to undergo a hysterectomy (a removal of your cervix and uterus). This is obviously a last resort treatment!
The severity and life impact of Endometriosis can vary considerably. For some, it is a manageable condition while for others it impacts their lives in a very big and negative way. For this latter group, there are numerous support groups and online forums which can be an enormous source of support, advice and information.
Please schedule a visit with your OB/GYN about these or any other health concerns you may have.