Endometriosis is a common gynecological disorder that affects many women. It is an often painful disorder in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus. As it grows outside of the uterus, it has no place to exit the body during a regular menstrual cycle. Cysts often form on the ovaries, surrounding tissue of the female reproductive organs can become irritated, and scar tissue and adhesions can form. Endometriosis can be painful, and can cause extreme pain during a woman’s period. Fertility problems can also develop from endometriosis. Doctors now know the severity of endometriosis and are able to treat it in different ways.
While many women experience discomfort during their menstrual cycle, women with endometriosis often experience debilitating cramps that can last for several days and can include lower back as well as abdominal pain. For women who develop cysts, these cysts can rupture during a woman’s cycle and be excruciatingly painful as acid is released into the body. Pain with intercourse is often common as well as excessive bleeding. Infertility is often a common symptom of endometriosis, and endometriosis is often not diagnosed until women seek treatment for infertility.
Treatment for endometriosis is usually handled by medications or through surgery. Conservative treatments (i.e. medications) are typically recommended at first, and surgery is usually a last resort. Pain medicine during menstrual cycles can sometimes be controlled by taking the maximum dosage of over-the-counter pain relievers. Hormone therapy is often a treatment option to help control the rise and fall of hormones during menstruation. For women who are trying to become pregnant, surgery to remove endometriosis may increase the chances of conceiving. However, the outcomes of surgery are often temporary as endometrial tissue can re-grow.
Controlling endometriosis is typically the plan needed by doctors. By helping women control their pain during menstrual cycles and by taking steps to remove endometriosis and promote conception, many women are able to overcome endometriosis. One positive outcome for many women is that when they are able to conceive and carry a healthy pregnancy, many times during birth excessive endometriosis tissue will exit the body. It’s another miracle of the human body, and one that is appreciated by women all over the United States.
Posted on behalf of Carlos Alarcon, M.D., Marietta OB-GYN Affiliates, P.A.