Endometriosis Q & A
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition in which endometrial-like tissue grows outside your uterus. Every month the lining of your uterus grows endometrial tissue in anticipation of pregnancy. When you don’t get pregnant, your uterus sheds the lining through menstruation.
With endometriosis, tissue similar to the endometrial tissue in your uterus grows on the surface of ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic organs. This tissue grows and sheds like the endometrial tissue in your uterus.
This displaced tissue causes inflammation and scarring that affects your reproductive health.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Pain in the abdomen, lower back, and pelvic area is the most common symptom of endometriosis. The severity of the pain varies but may not be a good indicator of the extent of your endometriosis.
Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Pain during sex
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements
- Pain during urination
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Spotting or bleeding in-between periods
Many women with endometriosis may also have gastrointestinal symptoms that resemble a bowel disorder like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Fatigue is also a common complaint in women with endometriosis.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
The Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology team performs a number of tests to diagnose endometriosis. Initially, the team may run imaging tests, such as an ultrasound or MRI, to find endometrial tissue growth in your abdominal area.
However, to confirm an endometriosis diagnosis, the team performs a diagnostic laparoscopy, which is a minimally invasive surgery that uses a special surgical camera (laparoscope) to evaluate your abdominal organs.
They may diagnose endometriosis through observation and take a biopsy of the tissue to confirm their findings.
How is endometriosis treated?
Currently, there’s no cure for endometriosis. The team at Heartfelt Obstetrics And Gynecology focuses on providing treatments that ease your symptoms, which may include:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Extended-cycle hormonal birth control
- Intrauterine device (IUD)
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove the endometrial growths
- Hysterectomy for women with no future plans for pregnancy
For women trying to get pregnant, the team prescribes gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist, which temporarily stops their period and the growth of endometrial tissue. The menstrual cycle returns after stopping the medication, and the chances of getting pregnant may improve.