Endometriosis is a fairly common reproductive problem — up to 10% of women between the ages of 25 and 40 have the condition. The symptoms that come with endo, as it’s called, are common to many different reproductive health issues, which makes fully understanding this condition important.
At Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen and our team of women’s health experts believe that patient education is vital, which is why we want to take this opportunity to review the symptoms of endometriosis and your treatment options.
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition in which the tissue that lines your uterus, the endometrium, grows outside your uterus. This tissue can drape itself over nearby tissues and organs, including your:
- Fallopian tubes
- Uterus support tissues
- Pelvic walls
This tissue still responds to your hormones and thickens each month, just as it would inside your uterus. Unfortunately, when it comes time to shed this tissue during your period, it has nowhere to go and can cause adhesions on your reproductive organs.
Signs of endometriosis
Women with endometriosis experience a wide range (and degree) of symptoms, the most common of which include:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- Heavy periods (menorrhagia)
- Bleeding between periods
- Pain during intercourse
- Pelvic pain
- Abdominal and/or back pain
- Pain during bowel movements or urination
- Constipation or diarrhea
The reason why endometriosis can affect your fertility is that when the endometrial tissue forms adhesions on your ovaries or fallopian tubes, it can impact how they function. To put some numbers to this problem, endometriosis is found in 24–50% of women who experience infertility.
What to do if you suspect endometriosis
If you’re checking off some of the endometriosis symptoms we outlined above, it’s important that you seek our help for a proper diagnosis. Most women come to see us because of the discomfort that often comes with endometriosis, and they want relief.
As well, when women who are struggling to conceive come in for an evaluation, we sometimes find that endometriosis may be the underlying problem, even though they didn’t experience any symptoms.
Whatever drives your visit, rest assured that we get to the bottom of the problem after reviewing your symptoms, performing a pelvic exam, and using advanced imaging.
If we find that you have endometriosis, it’s important to note that there’s no cure for the problem, but there are several treatment options that can restore your quality of life.
Our first line of defense is hormonal birth control, which regulates your menstrual cycles. If you don’t find any relief through hormones, we can turn to laparoscopy to remove some of the tissues and adhesions. In extreme cases, we may recommend a hysterectomy.
The key to managing your endometriosis is to have the right women’s health team in your corner. To get started, simply click here to make an appointment at our office in Carson City, Nevada.