Endometriosis can cause abnormal bleeding, intense pain, and infertility. The doctors at Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates, PA in Beaumont, Texas can help protect your fertility and ease your painful period.
Endometriosis Q & A
Endometriosis occurs when the innermost layer of your uterine tissue — called the endometrium — begins growing outside of the uterus.
These displaced tissues are called endometrial implants, and they attach to organs in the pelvis or to the outside wall of the uterus and begin to grow. They can irritate the pelvis and cause pain and abnormal bleeding, among other symptoms.
The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, and the pain varies in severity from woman to woman. While symptoms are usually worse around menstruation, the pain can be constant for some.
There are four stages of endometriosis ranging from mild to severe, which depends on the size and location of the endometrial implants, whether they’re stuck to other organs, and if they adhere to the ovaries.
Approximately 3-18% of women have endometriosis. It can be minimal with mild or no symptoms, or sometimes infertility is the only symptom.
Some women experience lower back, leg, or thigh pain, and it’s common to have abdominal or pelvic pain even when you’re not menstruating. Other symptoms include:
Mild cramps during menstruation are normal. Severe cramps, called dysmenorrhea, may indicate a uterine condition or endometriosis.
If you have dyspareunia, the pain you experience during intercourse is often severe before or after the start of your period.
Painful defecation and urination while menstruating is often directly associated with endometriosis. You may also experience diarrhea, constipation, or bleeding from the bowel.
Having endometriosis doesn’t mean you’re infertile, but it can make it more challenging to get pregnant and lead to infertility. As many as 20-50% of women dealing with infertility also receive treatment for endometriosis.
To make an accurate diagnosis, your gynecologist might perform a pelvic exam, ultrasound, colonoscopy, or laparoscopy. Endometriosis treatment depends on several factors including your desire to have children, the severity and extent of your condition, your age, and desired outcome.
Your doctor may suggest the following:
- Hormone therapy to reduce size of endometrial implants or relieve side effects
- Medication to reduce pain or reduce endometrial implants
- Hysterectomy to remove the uterus and possibly the ovaries
- Laparotomy to surgically remove endometrial implants
- Laparoscopic surgery to preserve the uterus and ovaries
- Bowel resection, if endometrial implants have adhered to the bowel
If your symptoms are mild, your doctor may recommend lifestyle changes and home remedies to ease your endometriosis symptoms including:
- A healthy diet and regular exercise
- Warm baths and heating pads to relax pelvic muscles
- Over-the-counter pain relievers to reduce pain and inflammation
To learn more about your endometriosis diagnosis and treatment options, call or click to schedule an appointment with Southeast Texas OB/GYN Associates, PA.