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Approximately 1 in 10 women will struggle with endometriosis pain during their lifetime. Fortunately, once an endometriosis diagnosis has been received, there are multiple treatment options for this painful, uncomfortable condition.
At the Advanced Women’s Health Institute, we’re committed to providing you with the least-invasive options available, including those designed to treat endometriosis. We’ll listen and work with you to develop a personalized treatment plan that works for you.
If you’re ready to develop your endometriosis treatment plan, schedule an appointment with us today.
When tissue implants are found outside of the uterus that look like pieces of your uterine lining, or endometrium, we call this condition endometriosis. Implants of endometriosis are most commonly found in the pelvic area and on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, rectum and bladder dome. There are uncommon reports of endometriosis outside the pelvis such as in the lung, colon, inside the bladder, and even as far away as the brain.
There are four stages of endometriosis. Stage I is referred to as minimal endometriosis because there are not a lot of implants in the pelvis. Stage II is called mild endometriosis and there is more disease. Stage III, or moderate endometriosis, is characterized by even more pain and pelvic organs being affected. Severe endometriosis means stage IV disease and is the most difficult to treat.
Scientists have not identified the cause of endometriosis so different theories exist. Shedding from the endometrium is a natural part of your period. But not all cells flow out the cervix. During this process, endometrial cells also flow through your fallopian tubes and settle in the pelvic area. Normally the immune system should clean these out. Because of a possible failure of immune system function, the endometrial cells may attach to the tissues in the pelvis. Cyclic bleeding in endometriosis then causes worsening cramps due to inflammation of the surrounding tissue.
Endometriosis tends to run in families, which supports a potential genetic link.
Endometriosis is stimulated by cyclic ovarian estrogen and progesterone production, so symptoms generally subside after menopause. HRT (estrogen with progesterone) for menopause may result in pain.
The generally quoted occurrence of endometriosis is 10-15% of women. Endometriosis is more common in caucasian women than other ethnic groups. The majority of women with endometriosis, about 90%, have stage I or II disease. Stage III and IV are less common but usually associated with more pain and faster recurrence.
Endometriosis itself is not cancer. The incidence of endometrial cancer in women, who have had endometriosis, even if taking estrogen only after a hysterectomy, does not appear very high. There are reports of endometrial cancer arising in endometriosis, so it is possible, but this does not appear to be a contraindication to estrogen for moderate to severe menopausal symptom relief.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis we see at the Advanced Women’s Institute include:
There are two main choices for managing endometriosis, medical or surgical, and both have their merits. Options for medical management include:
There are a variety of medicines available, each with their own side effects. Dr. Moore and the team will discuss each option with you in detail. It should be kept in mind that drug treatment does not cure endometriosis, but continuous use of your medication can help you manage your symptoms effectively. For more permanent solutions, you may opt for a surgical solution, such as:
While it may be possible to manage some symptoms with various alternative methods, Advanced Women's Health Institute is unaware of any controlled studies.
If you choose to use some alternative methods, it should be noted that all therapies and diets should be discussed with your physician to make sure that there is no contraindication with any prescriptions or other therapies or treatments being performed or contemplated. Always keep communication open between you and your practitioners.