Endometriosis is a disorder resulting from the uterine lining growing outside the uterus where it has no way to break down and bleed out with each menstrual cycle. Cysts often form on the ovaries and act as an irritant, producing scar tissue and even adhesions that bind organs together. For example, the uterus can become attached to the bowel.
The pain of endometriosis has a life of its own, much worse than any menstrual cramps. Typical symptoms include:
- Dysmenorrhea which means very painful periods with severe pain in the pelvic, abdomen and lower back
- Pain during urination and bowel movements
- Excessive bleeding both during and between periods
- Pain during intercourse
Often the diagnosis becomes clear only when there is a fertility issue, as endometriosis is often mistaken for other conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome or ovarian cysts. The severity of the pain is not necessarily an indication of the severity of the condition, so it is important that any signs and symptoms are checked out with specialists like our team here at Woodlands OBGYN Associates.
There needs to be a thorough discussion between patient and physician in order to determine a course of treatment. Options include:
- Pain medication ranging from over-the-counter drugs to prescriptions NSAIDs
- Hormone therapy, both oral and injections,which can inhibit the growth of endometrial tissue and might relieve pain but can have serious side effects and usually prevent pregnancy
- Surgery ranging from removal of as much endometrial tissue as possible to a full hysterectomy
- In vitro fertilization if the patient wants to become pregnant in spite of the endometriosis
Most physicians recommend drugs or conservative surgery before irreversible options such as a hysterectomy. Although not all treatments are completely successful, most patients are willing to accept whatever relief is possible. It is often a case of learning to manage endometriosis instead of curing the condition, especially if there is still the hope of a pregnancy. Woodlands OBGYN is happy to assist you with any questions or concerns about endometriosis. Contact us, or request an appointment by signing into our Patient Login.