Endometriosis is a debilitating condition that affects millions of women across the country. Endometriosis can begin as soon as a girl has her first period. Many women who have this condition do not even realize that they have a medical issue.
If you believe you may have endometriosis, seek medical treatment. Continue reading to learn more about this condition.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition in which the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. The lining may have grown in the fallopian tubes and ovaries. Sometimes, women may also experience growth of this material in their intestines.
Diagnosis of a condition like endometriosis can be difficult. The signs are not visible during a pelvic exam, nor is there evidence that an ultrasound will necessarily be able to spot any signs.
Doctors do not yet know exactly what causes endometriosis, but many theories persist. Some researchers suggest the condition could be an immune system disorder while others relate it to retrograde menstruation, a condition in which menstrual blood finds itself in the fallopian tubes rather than the vaginal canal.
What Are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
The biggest symptom of endometriosis is intense pain. The pain is typically prominent in the abdomen, but it may also sting in your back and pelvis.
Many women report fatigue as a common symptom of endometriosis. Women with the health condition may nap more often or feel faint throughout the day.
Long periods are another symptom of endometriosis. The long period may come with a heavier menstrual flow.
Some women also report they experience intense pain during sexual intercourse. Sometimes, women experience this pain following intercourse.
Finally, women often report that they experience pain during bowel movements or while urinating. This pain may feel that it is coming from the rectum or the urinary tract. This symptom is more common during retrograde menstruation.
What Are the Consequences of Endometriosis?
Besides severe pain, endometriosis may lead to infertility. In some cases, infertility is the first sign that a woman has a medical condition to begin with. Many women can become pregnant with the medical condition, though the pregnancy could be more difficult as a result.
Endometriosis can also lead to lifelong pain and intense menstrual cramps. Even with treatment, some women experience more pain those who do not have the medical condition.
Endometriosis also exhibits symptoms similar to those found in other medical conditions, including pelvic inflammatory disease. For this reason, you should seek a medical diagnosis. If you attempt to self-diagnose endometriosis, you may neglect the actual cause if the symptoms are due to PID or another medical condition.
What Can You Do About Endometriosis?
Doctors often use birth control pills as a means of treatment for endometriosis. Pills high in progestin are a favorite among doctors trying to ease the symptoms of endometriosis. Many doctors rely on monophasic pills because they are consistent in providing the same amount of progestin and estrogen each day.
Birth control pills may prevent endometriosis from spreading into the intestines. The key is to have women with the condition bleeding as little as possible, which is why birth control pills are used to regulate and reduce the menstrual flow.
Sometimes, a woman may have to undergo a hysterectomy to see a change. A hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus and possibly even the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and cervix. Unfortunately, endometriosis can persist, though surgery is often a last resort.
Surgery for endometriosis may include laparoscopy to remove the endometrial tissue. The surgery typically requires a two-week period of recovery, during which you need to not engage in extremely physical activities or sexual intercourse.
If you suspect you have endometriosis, call Jack G. Faup M.D. Our office can set up an appointment with an OBGYN who understands how to look for endometriosis.