Endometriosis Q & A
What is endometriosis?
The interior of your uterus is lined with a special type of tissue called endometrium. Your endometrium thickens during your menstrual cycle in preparation for pregnancy and serves to support a fertilized egg and the development of a placenta. Every month that pregnancy does not take place, a portion of your endometrium exits your body in the form of your period.
Endometriosis is a condition in which endometrial tissue develops outside of your uterus on other pelvic organs. That abnormally situated tissue acts the same way as the endometrium inside your uterus, thickening and bleeding during your menstrual cycle. However, endometrium outside of your uterus has no way to exit your body and causes widespread inflammation and significant pain.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Some women don’t experience symptoms, while others have a range of painful and disruptive symptoms. When symptoms are present, they include:
- Back pain or abdominal cramping
- Severe menstrual-type cramping
- Pain during urination or bowel movements
- Abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding
- Pain during sex
Your experience might include some or many of these symptoms, which can vary in intensity from mild to severe.
What causes endometriosis?
Researchers aren’t sure of the exact cause of endometriosis, but it’s believed that there is a genetic component. There might also be a link with immune system disorders. Yet another theory holds that endometriosis begins when a small portion of menstrual blood infused with endometrial cells flows backward through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity.
What are some treatment options for endometriosis?
In decades past, the primary treatment for endometriosis was a full hysterectomy. Today, however, specialists prefer more conservative treatment options, and hysterectomy is only considered in cases where less invasive treatments prove ineffective.
Medication may play a role in your treatment path. Some drugs work to manage pain, while others offer anti-inflammatory benefits.
Hormone therapy is also an effective treatment for some women. Altering your hormonal balance can lessen or even stop menstruation, which goes a long way toward easing endometriosis symptoms.
Conservative surgery can help by removing abnormally developing endometrial issue. This approach increases your chances of becoming pregnant and also lessens symptoms.
To learn more about your options for treating endometriosis, schedule a one-on-one consultation today, either online or by phone.