Endometriosis is a painful medical condition caused when tissue (endometrium) that normally lines the uterus begins growing outside the uterus, most commonly on the outside of the uterus, on the bowel, or on the ovaries or the fallopian tubes. Less commonly, these tissue growths or “implants” can grow outside the abdominal area. Implants can range in size and cause different symptoms depending on where they’re located and their size. In turn, implant growth rates and size can vary from one person to another and often fluctuate with changes in hormone levels. Endometriosis almost solely occurs during the childbearing years with implant growth halting during menopause.
Mild cases of endometriosis may cause no noticeable symptoms, and some women may not realize they have the condition until they find they have difficulty becoming pregnant. In other women, symptoms can include:
In many women, symptoms become worse during their periods.
The severity of endometriosis pain is often may not be a reliable indicator of the extent of your condition. Mild cases may produce intense pain for some, while advanced endometriosis may produce no pain at all for others.
Other diseases that are sometimes mistaken for endometriosis include pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts, and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). IBS and endometriosis may occur simultaneously, making diagnosis of either more complicated.
If you have any symptoms consistent with endometriosis, contact Dr. Bozdogan to discuss your case. Endometriosis can be challenging to manage, and an early diagnosis improves your chances for successful treatment.
So far, there is no cure for endometriosis, but there are steps that can be taken to manage the condition. Treatment for endometriosis will depend on the severity of the symptoms and other factors. Some women can relieve symptoms and shrink implants with hormone replacement therapy. Fertility treatments like IVF may also be considered, and pain may be managed with medication. Many women find relief from symptoms by having the implants removed. In most cases, surgical removal can be performed using minimally-invasive techniques or robot-assisted surgery using the state-of-the-art da Vinci surgical robot system. Once removed, implants may recur in some women, so ongoing doctor visits are important for keeping symptoms at bay, especially in women who want to become pregnant.