Endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs when the uterine lining tissue (the endometrium) begins growing outside the uterus - usually on the outer uterine wall, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes or the intestines. Rarely, tissue growth may occur outside the pelvic region. These abnormal tissue growths are called implants, and they can vary in size, becoming larger and more symptomatic with hormonal fluctuations. Endometriosis usually occurs during the childbearing years with implants shrinking once menopause occurs.
In some mild cases, endometriosis may cause no symptoms, only being diagnosed if the implants interfere with fertility. In other cases, endometriosis implants can cause symptoms like:
Symptoms can occur at any time but tend to be worse during menstruation.
Although endometriosis can’t be cured, the symptoms can be treated. Minimally-invasive procedures are available to remove the implants, and hormone therapy can also help by shrinking implants to lessen or relieve symptoms. Pain medication may also be used to lessen symptoms, especially during menstruation. Women who have difficulty conceiving as a result of endometriosis may require in vitro fertilization to become pregnant. Most women require ongoing treatment to manage symptoms until menopause when most women find symptoms resolve on their own.
Surgical removal of endometrial implants can help relieve symptoms caused by those implants, but it will not prevent regrowth of other implants. Many women find hormone therapy is effective in controlling the growth of implants during the childbearing years. The key to optimal results is to have routine office visits to track symptoms and adjust treatments as needed. Our practice provides endometriosis treatment based on each patient’s unique and individual needs for the best possible results, with treatment options evolving as the patient’s needs and symptoms change.
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