Endometriosis is a chronic gynecological condition that can cause chronic pelvic pain and infertility in reproductive-aged women. It occurs in about one-tenth of women in this age group with increased prevalence in patients experiencing chronic pelvic pain or infertility. Dr. Ryan Brosch from Women’s Care Florida breaks down endometriosis treatment, diagnosis, and possible causes.
What causes endometriosis?
There are several theories on why endometriosis occurs. The most commonly accepted theory is that endometriosis can occur during menses when endometrial tissue flows through the fallopian tubes instead of out of the cervix, where it attaches to organs of the pelvis, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus, and colon. This causes inflammation that can result in the formation of adhesions or scar tissue inside the pelvis, which can cause chronic pain and potentially infertility.
Common symptoms and diagnosis
Endometriosis can be asymptomatic in women, only discovered during surgery performed for other reasons. In some women, however, endometriosis can cause chronic pelvic pain, extremely painful periods, pain with intercourse, and even pain with urination or bowel movements.
Endometriosis is only definitively diagnosed through surgery. Your gynecologist may offer you surgical treatment with laparoscopy, where a camera is used to visualize the inside of the abdomen. The camera allows surgeons to operate through small incisions with long instruments. Areas that are concerning for endometriosis may be biopsied or removed for assessment under a microscope to confirm the diagnosis. Before surgery, a gynecologist will likely perform a pelvic exam and may offer a pelvic ultrasound to assess for other issues that may be causing pain.
The primary treatment for endometriosis involves hormonal suppression of ovulation with birth control pills, progesterone-only medications such as Provera, as well as other medications that can decrease the release of hormones from the ovaries, such as gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists like Lupron.
These medications may be offered before confirming the diagnosis with surgery. Pain is best controlled with non-steroidal anti-inflammatories, such as ibuprofen. If symptoms persist despite medication use, or if an original evaluation via ultrasound shows abnormal findings, such as large cysts, a gynecologist may offer surgery to both confirm the diagnosis and to attempt to remove endometriosis and associated scar tissue to improve symptoms and decrease pain.
Endometriosis and infertility
Women with endometriosis have increased risk of infertility due to inflammation caused by endometrial implants that can damage sperm or egg, or interfere with their movement through the fallopian tube and uterus. The fallopian tube can end up being blocked from adhesions caused by the endometriosis. Women with chronic pelvic pain and infertility may be candidates for surgery for diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis.
If you feel you might be showing symptoms of endometriosis or would like to know more about endometriosis treatment, schedule an appointment with Women’s Care Florida today.
Menstrual cramps are no joke — the throbbing pain, the bloating that follows, the urge to wear sweatpants for a week straight. There’s not much you can do to alleviate the pain, but pop a pain reliever and wait it out. However, if you’re experiencing severe pelvic pain during your menstruation cycle, then you might have a more serious health condition. Living with endometriosis can be painful at times. However, you still have options.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects over five million women in the United States and occurs when uterine tissue, also known as the endometrium, is located in the wrong place, such as outside the uterus or on nearby organs. In a healthy menstruating woman, the endometrium grows inside the uterus and sheds every month during a woman’s period. In women with endometriosis, the tissue has no way of exiting the body when it sheds during menstruation. This causes severe pelvic pain and other symptoms that cause discomfort.
What are the first signs of endometriosis?
Living with endometriosis can feel painful at times. Many women commonly describe the pain as worse than your usual menstrual cramps. Symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Severe pain during menstruation
- Pelvic pain any time of the month
- Painful urination or bowel movements during menstruation
- Hurts to sit down during period
- Bloating, constipation, or diarrhea during menstruation
- Extreme fatigue during menstruation
Causes of endometriosis
There is no known cause for endometriosis. However, the medical industry suspects the buildup of uterine tissue in the fallopian tubes causing the tissue to flow into the abdominal cavity to contribute. Furthermore, the risk for developing endometriosis increases for those who have a family history of it.
Diagnosing and treating endometriosis
Laparoscopic surgery detects and diagnoses endometriosis. A surgeon inserts a small camera into the abdominal cavity to check for endometrial tissue. If the surgeon detects endometriosis, they can remove the tissue using laser technology or other surgical tools.
In addition, hormone medications such as birth control pills and medicines can help. Furthermore, they block estrogen and progesterone thus alleviating pain and other symptoms.
Endometriosis and Pregnancy
If you want to become pregnant and have endometriosis, inform your physician or gynecologist immediately. Some medications for treating endometriosis can cause harm to fetuses. In most cases, your doctor will instruct you to continue with medication to shrink the endometriosis before you try to get pregnant.
If you suffer from pelvic pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis, make an appointment with your gynecologist. Or, find an OB/GYN at Women’s Care Florida. The sooner you are diagnosed, the sooner you can begin treatment and get back to enjoying a healthy, pain-free life.
If you experience symptoms of endometriosis, please schedule an appointment with a doctor here.
Previously, Women’s Care Florida discussed the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of endometriosis, a painful condition that affects over five million women in the US. However, irritable bowel syndrome has similar symptoms. How do you know if you have endometriosis or IBS? Menstruation can intensify these symptoms. Therefore, many confuse endometriosis with other conditions such as period cramps or IBS.
Like IBS, endometriosis can cause abdominal pain and cramping. In addition, you can experience changes in the appearance and frequency of bowel movements. Having a better understanding of the main differences between endometriosis and IBS can help you determine the right diagnosis. If you suffer from severe pain during menstruation or changes in bowel habits, talk to your doctor, or make an appointment with the specialists at Women’s Care Florida.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis consists of uterine lining growing on other organs outside the uterus. This prevents a woman from shedding her endometrial lining through her vagina during menstruation. It can thus lead to inflammation and cysts. These tissue growths can grow on organs throughout the lower abdomen and pelvic area. As a result, it can interfere with bladder and bowel function.
Many women assume that the symptoms they experience with endometriosis directly relate to their periods. This is partly why endometriosis sometimes goes undetected. Also, the tissue growths from endometriosis can develop next to the large intestine. Excess tissue can lead to inflammation and contribute to problems with bowel movements. As a result, some physicians diagnose endometriosis incorrectly as IBS.
Common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Strong abdominal pain and cramping, especially during your period
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Bladder difficulties
- Pain during bowel movements
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Irregular bleeding between periods
- Vaginal tenderness
Differences between endometriosis and IBS
The most common symptoms shared between endometriosis and IBS include abdominal pain and cramping. Aside from these two symptoms, patients with IBS report having one or more additional symptoms:
- Abdominal distension
- Colicky pain
- Upper abdominal pain
If a doctor diagnosed you with IBS and you find that your symptoms worse around your period, know you could have endometriosis. Talk to your gynecologist about all your symptoms and concerns regarding an incorrect diagnosis. Your OB-GYN will run the necessary tests to arrive at a more accurate diagnosis.
Furthermore, for more information about how Women’s Care Florida can help you take care of you, contact us to schedule an appointment.
Endometriosis can be an uncomfortable and difficult condition for women to manage. One common symptom of endometriosis is unexplained infertility. This leaves many women wondering if they can conceive. In some cases, providers diagnose endometriosis when women visit their to address initial infertility. While a link does exist between endometriosis and the ability to get pregnant, not all women who have this condition cannot conceive.
Infertility can occur for reasons besides endometriosis
If you experience difficulty becoming pregnant, make an appointment with your healthcare provider. This way, you can rule out any other causes. Endometriosis can cause infertility. However, so can stress, obesity, and your partner’s health. Talk to a specialist to rule out any of these factors first.
Endometriosis surgery can help improve fertility
If you have endometriosis, talk to your physician about surgery. They can suggest laparoscopic surgery for treatment. During this surgery, providers diagnose your endometriosis. They can also cauterize or remove it. This can help improve your fertility increasing your chance of becoming pregnant.
Other methods for endometriosis infertility treatments
Sometimes, providers treat infertility using hormonal medications. Other methods include treating underlying causes such as thyroid problems. Contact your gynecologist to learn about means other than endometriosis treatments. Some women with endometriosis conceive with in-vitro fertilization (IVF).
If you have difficulty becoming pregnant, consult with your health care provider immediately to rule out endometriosis and other treatable causes. Having endometriosis can make conception more difficult, but not impossible. Together, you and your gynecologist can arrive at solutions and treatments that can improve your health — and your chances of becoming pregnant.
Women’s Care Florida Can Help
The Board-Certified Physicians at Women’s Care Florida are dedicated to providing the gold-star standard in women’s healthcare. Each of our Physician Care Groups has a distinctive style and practice that can be tailored to fit your individual needs. For more information about how WCF can help you take care of “you,” contact us to schedule an appointment.