Endometriosis is a painful disorder that affects millions of women worldwide. It can significantly impact your daily life, causing debilitating pain during menstruation, intercourse, and bowel movements. Lauren E. Spoo, MD, and the Memorial Women’s Specialists team dedicate themselves to preserving your fertility and ensuring you live a pain-free life. Endometriosis is a complex and challenging condition that requires careful management and support to help you cope with its physical and emotional effects.
Symptoms associated with endometriosis
Endometriosis is a reproductive disorder where the endometrium grows outside your uterus and on other organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and bowel. This misplaced tissue can result in painful periods, chronic pelvic pain, painful sex, infertility, and fatigue. You may also experience heavy menstrual bleeding, nausea, constipation, or diarrhea during your period. In severe cases, the disorder can cause emotional distress as it can interfere with your daily life, relationships, and work.
Diagnostic techniques for endometriosis
Diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging since its symptoms overlap with other conditions, and not all women with endometriosis experience symptoms. However, your Memorial Women’s Specialists doctor may start by conducting a physical exam to check for tenderness and swelling in your pelvic area and signs of cysts or scar tissue. They may also perform a pelvic ultrasound to identify cysts or other abnormalities in your reproductive organs. In some cases, your doctor may recommend a laparoscopy. This surgical procedure involves inserting a thin, lighted tube through a small incision in your abdomen to view your reproductive organs.
Afterward, your provider may work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan. They may recommend hormonal birth control pills or surgery in severe cases.
- Hormonal birth control
Hormonal birth control suppresses ovulation and reduces estrogen levels in your body, which can help alleviate pain and other symptoms associated with endometriosis. It can also prevent the growth and development of endometrial tissue outside your uterus, helping to slow down the condition’s progression. Hormonal birth control may not be suitable for all women, so it is wise to consult your doctor first.
The specialists may recommend surgery if your symptoms don’t improve to other treatments. Depending on the severity of the endometriosis, your provider may conduct the surgery using laparoscopy or laparotomy techniques. Laparoscopy is less invasive, and it involves making a small incision in your abdomen and using a laparoscope to view and remove the tissue growth. Laparotomy, on the other hand, is a more invasive procedure that involves making a larger incision in your abdomen.
How you can prevent endometriosis
Although there is no precise way to prevent endometriosis, making a few lifestyle adjustments may reduce your risk. Medical experts recommend exercising regularly, consuming a balanced diet low in fat and fiber, avoiding smoking, and managing stress. You can also consider using non-hormonal birth control methods to regulate menstrual cycles and reduce the risk of endometrial tissue growth outside the uterus. It is important to seek regular gynecological check-ups to detect and treat endometriosis early before it causes severe pain or infertility.
If you struggle with endometriosis symptoms, call the Memorial Women’s Specialists office or schedule an appointment online for treatment.