What is endometriosis?
When the tissue from the lining of the endometrium (inside of the uterus) forms outside of the uterus.
How common is endometriosis
1 in 10 women have endometriosis, most often diagnosed between the ages of 30 and 40.
Where does endometriosis occur?
Endometrial tissue is most often found in the following areas.
What problems can endometriosis cause?
Endometrial tissue responds to estrogen, a female hormone. The tissue will expand and bleed like the endometrial tissue in the lining of the uterus. This growing tissue can cause the surrounding tissue to become irritated. It may also form scar tissue. The scar tissue formed by endometriosis can cause organs to stick together. This can cause moderate to severe pain at different times in a woman’s cycle.
Is there a link between infertility and endometriosis?
Endometriosis can interfere with the egg’s movement through the fallopian tubes. It may even damage the sperm. In severe cases, the tubes may be completely blocked by the scar tissue. Close to 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Endometriosis pain happens before or during a cycle, intercourse, bowel movements, and urination. A woman may experience heavy menstrual bleeding. Many women experience no pain or symptoms.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
Your healthcare provider will conduct a physical and pelvic exam. Your full medical history will help determine if you have symptoms of endometriosis. Symptoms of endometriosis alone will not diagnose endometriosis. There is no way to diagnose endometriosis without a surgical procedure called laparoscopy. During a laparoscopy, they remove a small amount of tissue. This tissue (biopsy) reviewed by a lab will determine a diagnosis.
How is endometriosis treated?
Treatment depends on the extent of the disease. Treatment includes medication and often surgery. When pain is the primary issue medication is usually tried first. There are many new clinical trials for treatment and medications.
What medications treat endometriosis?
Hormonal medications slow the growth of endometrial tissue. This decreases adhesions from forming. These drugs do not cure endometriosis or get rid of tissue that is already there.
How can surgery treat endometriosis?
Your physician will remove endometriosis implants (adhesions) to relieve pain and improve fertility.
Does surgery cure endometriosis?
Surgery does not cure endometriosis but does give relief from pain. 40-80% of women will experience pain again within 2 years of surgery. The more severe the disease, the more likely it is to return.
What if I still have severe pain that does not go away even after I have had treatment?
A hysterectomy may be a “last resort” option. Ovary removal during a hysterectomy will decrease your chances of future endometriosis-related pain.
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