If you suffer the pain and frustrating symptoms of endometriosis, you’re not alone. It affects more than 11% of American women in their reproductive years. At West Coast Obstetrics & Gynecology in Bradenton, Florida, the team of expert OB/GYNs evaluate your case of endometriosis and offer treatment to resolve your symptoms. Call the office or book an appointment online if you have symptoms that suggest this bothersome condition.
When the endometrium (lining of the uterus) grows outside of your uterus, it’s diagnosed as endometriosis. The endometrial tissue can appear on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of your uterus. In some cases, the tissue can migrate to the vagina, bowel, cervix, vulva, or rectum.
The endometrial tissue that grows outside of the uterus acts just like tissue within the uterus, so it sheds and bleeds monthly. However, the excess tissue and blood don’t always have a place to go, causing symptoms that include:
You may also experience bleeding between menstrual periods due to endometriosis.
Any woman who menstruates can suffer from endometriosis. It’s most common in your 30s and 40s, and often occurs in women with the following risk factors:
Dysfunction with the production of the hormone estrogen may cause endometriosis, but researchers have not yet found an exact cause.
Endometriosis can be hard to diagnose because many of the symptoms occur with other disorders. It may be detected during a pelvic exam or when other conditions are ruled out via an ultrasound.
The only way to definitively see the endometrial tissue is with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. The surgery may reveal the growths or allow the doctor to take a sample of tissue and examine under a microscope.
Treatment depends on your age, reproductive goals, and the severity of your symptoms. In some cases, hormonal birth control can ease mild symptoms and control the growth of the endometrial tissue. This is not an effective therapy if you want to get pregnant, however.
If you’re trying to get pregnant, your OB/GYN at West Coast Obstetrics & Gynecology may prescribe a gonadotropin-releasing hormone that stops your body from making the hormones responsible for your menstrual cycle. It puts you in a temporary menopause. Once the growth of endometrial tissue is controlled with this medication, you may have a better chance of getting pregnant.
In some cases, surgery is the only option to get rid of excess endometrial tissue. Talk to your OB/GYN to determine the best course of therapy for you.
To learn more about the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, call West Coast Obstetrics & Gynecology or book an appointment online.