Endometriosis is a challenging disease to tackle. The condition presents slightly differently in every woman, and - unfortunately - is an often painful health issue to live with. The condition can involve the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis. And in addition to causing pain, it can worry women who want to start a family.
That's where we can help. When you visit Somerset, our #1 priority is offering individualized care targeting your health need. Our second priority? Making each and every visit a positive experience. We want to hear your questions and feedback every step of the way - that way, we know you'll leave us with the most personalized medical treatment plan possible. These priorities allow us to successfully provide endometriosis relief to our patients. To discuss your care needs and schedule an appointment at our office, please contact us online or at (248) 816-9200.
Endometriosis is a medical condition where endometrial tissue, which normally lines the uterus, grows outside the uterus. This disorder typically affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvis region (although it can also affect the bladder and intestines). Often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s, the condition affects about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age.
In addition to creating scar tissue throughout the reproductive system, endometriosis can be extremely painful. Endometrial tissue responds to changes in estrogen, even if the tissue grows outside of the uterus. As a result, it's possible for the tissue to bleed just like true uterine lining during a woman's menstrual cycle. The process created irritation, inflammation, and swelling in the affected areas.
Chronic pelvic pain - particularly before and during a woman's period - is the most common complaint in patients suffering from this disorder. The condition can also cause painful intercourse, painful bowel movements or urination, and heavy menstrual bleeding. However, many women with the condition have no symptoms at all.
In addition to causing painful symptoms, endometriosis is associated with fertility problems. In fact, about 40% of women suffering from infertility have endometriosis. Inflammation from endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus can actually damage or block parts of the reproductive system, including the fallopian tubes. Blockages and scar tissue both make it much more difficult - or even impossible - for an egg and sperm to meet.
To diagnosis this disorder, doctors begin with a physical exam and pelvic exam. Confirmation will be made through a laparoscopy - a surgical procedure in which a fiber-optic instrument and camera is used to view internal organs.
If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, the next step will be determining how advanced the condition is. This will affect your doctor's care and treatment recommendations. Doctors will also discuss your symptoms and your family planning goals. Based on the information gathered, your doctor may recommend pain relief medication, hormonal medications (to slow the growth of endometrial tissue), surgery (primarily to remove blockages causing infertility), or both.
Unfortunately, 40% - 80% of women have endometriosis pain again within two years of their first surgery. It's believed that this is often due to doctors not being able to see and remove all of the endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus.
If pain relief and surgery do not provide relief, a full hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and ovaries) may be considered as the last line of treatment for this disorder.
Somerset Gynecology and Obstetrics is committed to providing every woman with the exams, medical advice, and - when needed - surgical care necessary to control her painful endometriosis symptoms. Contact us today to book a consultation about your condition.