Endometriosis can cause pain, menstrual problems and infertility issues, but our gynecologists offer hope and help
More than 6 million women in the United States and Canada are affected by endometriosis, a chronic condition that occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus, or the endometrium, grows in areas outside the uterus. These growths, also known as endometrial implants, can occur in a woman’s ovaries, bowels, pelvic tissue and sometimes in the bladder, bowel or intestines.
Endometriosis is most common in women in their reproductive years, usually in their 30s and 40s, but it can occur as early as the teenage years. Our Grapevine gynecologists have experience and expertise with this sometimes elusive condition, and they can detect the problem using the most up-to-date diagnostic and treatment methods.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms are caused when endometrial implants or growths respond to estrogen during the menstrual cycle. The implants respond to female hormones by growing and bleeding—a normal response in the endometrium or uterine lining. However, since this tissue is outside the uterus, this growth and bleeding can cause swelling, inflammation and irritation in the tissues surrounding the implants. In addition, endometriosis may cause the formation of adhesions, or scar tissue.
Pain is the most common symptom reported with endometriosis, but some women have no symptoms. If you experience the following, you should consult our Grapevine gynecologists:
- Pain that occurs during menstrual periods, including cramps and pelvic pain
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Pain while urinating or during a bowel movement
- Heavy periods
- Bleeding in between periods
- Infertility issues
Risk factors for endometriosis
Researchers and physicians do not have definitive answers as to what causes endometriosis, but they have identified certain conditions that put a woman at higher risk for developing the problem.
- Age—women in their reproductive years have the highest risk
- Having a mother, sister and/or aunt with the condition
- Not having given birth to a child
- Having physical conditions that impede or prevent normal menstrual flow
How is endometriosis diagnosed and treated?
Endometriosis should be diagnosed and treated by a physician with specialized knowledge. Our Grapevine gynecologists are knowledgeable about the condition, and they are experienced at administering diagnostic tests and treatment.
Diagnosing endometriosis begins with a thorough medical history and a pelvic examination. Since it can be difficult to manually feel or visualize implants or scar tissue caused by endometriosis, our physicians may recommend an ultrasound to examine the reproductive organs.
In some cases, our Grapevine gynecologists will perform a laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure, performed under general anesthesia, in which a gynecologic surgeon uses an instrument called a laparoscope to search for endometrial implants. These implants may be removed during laparoscopy as well. Laparoscopy is the most effective way to both diagnose and treat endometriosis.
Treatment usually begins with medication and hormone therapy. In some cases, it may involve minimally invasive surgery to remove the implants.
Our Grapevine gynecologists want women to know that endometriosis is a condition that we can manage and treat to improve quality of life and help with infertility issues. Contact us today for an appointment.