What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic disease in which the tissue that lines the uterus begins growing outside of the uterus.
Typically, over the course of the menstrual cycle, the uterine tissue grows, breaks down, and then exits during the menstrual period. For those with endometriosis, the uterine tissue grows not just in the uterus, but on other organs or tissues, which can result in pelvic pain. Currently, we aren’t sure what causes this reproductive health disorder, but growing endometriosis awareness is leading to more research.
There is a broad range of endometriosis symptoms, which can make this disease difficult to diagnose. Some symptoms include:
- Painful periods, often accompanied by heavy bleeding during your period or spotting between periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during bowel movements
- Bloating, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation, especially during menstrual periods
Endometriosis can be especially painful during the menstrual cycle, and can potentially affect fertility if inflammation, cysts, or scar tissue develops around the ovaries or fallopian tubes.
Getting an Endometriosis Diagnosis
If you’re experiencing symptoms that may indicate endometriosis, contact your doctor or women’s clinic. They can help you start taking steps toward diagnosis. Diagnosis is done through laparoscopy and by taking tissue samples. Prior to this, other testing will be done, which might include an ultrasound, biopsy, or hysteroscopy.
Depending on the consistency and severity of your symptoms and your present medical condition, your provider may recommend different treatment options. Common endometriosis treatment options include:
- Pain relief medication
- Hormone treatment, which suppresses ovulation and periods
- Laparoscopic surgery, which removes or destroys scar tissue
Endometriosis can be a tough condition to manage, but you are not alone. Our team of women’s health professionals at the Gabrielson Clinic for Women is here to support you every step of the way.