Endometriosis is a painful disorder found in women where tissues similar to those that line your uterus grow outside of it. It most commonly involves a woman’s ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining her pelvis. In rare cases, endometrial tissue can be found beyond where the pelvic organs are located.
With endometriosis, the endometrial-like tissue breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because it has no way to exit a body, it becomes trapped. And when endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts can form, and surrounding tissue can become irritated, developing scar tissue and adhesions.
This article will explain everything you need to know about endometriosis.
What are common endometriosis symptoms?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which tends to be associated with menstrual periods. While most women experience cramping during their menstrual periods, those with endometriosis describe pain that is typically far worse, which may increase over time.
Other common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include the following:
- Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is standard with endometriosis.
- Pain with urination or bowel movements. You may experience this at other times during the month, but this generally occurs more frequently during a menstrual period.
- Strong bleeding. Those with endometriosis typically have heavy menstrual periods or bleeding between periods.
- Infertility. In some instances, endometriosis is diagnosed in those seeking infertility treatment.
You can also experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea with endometriosis, especially during a menstrual period. In addition, pain is not always a reliable indicator of the extent of a condition. Endometriosis can be mistaken for other conditions that cause pelvic pain, like pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, or irritable bowel syndrome.
When should you see a doctor?
If you have any signs or symptoms that may indicate you have endometriosis, you should speak with your doctor right away. It can be a challenging condition to manage, and an early diagnosis can result in better management of your symptoms before they worsen.
Treatment for endometriosis
Treatment for endometriosis typically involves a combination of medication or surgery. The approach you and your doctor decide on will depend on how severe your symptoms are.
Most doctors recommend trying several different conservative treatment approaches before opting for surgery. These typically include:
- Pain medication. Your doctor may advise you to take over-the-counter pain medications, such as NSAIDs or ibuprofen, to help ease painful cramps. They may also recommend hormone therapy in combination with pain relievers if you are not trying to get pregnant.
- Hormone therapy. Supplemental hormones are effective in reducing or eliminating pain associated with endometriosis. Treatments usually include hormonal contraceptives, gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists and antagonists, and progestin therapy.
- Conservative surgery. If you have endometriosis and want to become pregnant, conservative surgery to remove the endometriosis implants while preserving your uterus and ovaries may increase your chances of success. It can also help reduce your pain, though it may return.
Request an appointment with an OBGYN now!
As a woman, visiting the OBGYN is essential to catching and preventing conditions, screening for cancer and STDs, and planning a successful pregnancy. In addition, an OBGYN can help you with your endometriosis, including managing your symptoms and creating a treatment plan.
At Comprehensive OBGYN, we are McKinney's most trusted OBGYN practice and always work to make women feel comfortable. We provide complete women’s healthcare and pride ourselves on transparency, communication, and educating patients. Visit the patient portal now to make your appointment!