Endometriosis is a common gynecologic disorder that affects 1 in 10 women. It’s a condition where the presence of endometrial cells that typically grow inside the uterus, begin to form outside the uterus. Consequently, the cells growing outside the uterus also begin growing in the abdomen and pelvis. These normal cells in the abnormal area cause inflammation, scarring, pelvic pain, and infertility. Painful periods and pain with intercourse are the most common complaints that lead patients to seek care.
Keeping You Aware
The goal of Endometriosis Awareness Month, in March, is to empower women to seek care for these symptoms. First of all, women need to know that pain isn’t normal. If they’re missing out on routine activities, missing work, and avoiding sex due to pain, they should seek immediate help. Unfortunately, nearly half the patients who receive a diagnosis, suffer for more than 4 years prior to their diagnosis. This was according to a recent study on endometriosis.
Physicians usually suspect a diagnosis based on a patient’s acknowledged symptoms of heavy painful periods or pain with intercourse. In addition, patients receive a definitive diagnosis after a laparoscopy procedure. Laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where a physician will insert a camera into the abdomen to view the endometriosis. If physicians find significant amounts of abnormal tissue and scarring during the laparoscopy, they can choose to start surgical treatment immediately. Surgery not only diagnoses endometriosis, it can also help relieve many of its symptoms.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for endometriosis. However, patients can gain a sense of control over managing their symptoms. This is due to the combination of surgical and medical management available; and through them, symptoms can be controlled resulting in improved quality of life.
If you have pelvic pain or other symptoms of endometriosis, the first step is to talk to your gynecologist. Before your appointment, arm yourself with knowledge. Gather your medical records and write down your symptoms. Log how much pain you experience on an average day and how often; if there’s a time of day when symptoms are worse or better; if specific activities worsen or relieve the pain; or if the pain comes and goes. With this information, your treatment can be optimized with good relief of symptoms.
We’re Here to Help
At Woodlands OBGYN Associates we have been diagnosing and treating endometriosis since 1992. If you are having any of these symptoms and would like an evaluation, please call our office at 281.364.9898. Additional information can be obtained at Woodlandsobgynassociates.com Raj Syal, MD