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Endometriosis is a common and potentially painful condition affecting between 2 and 10 percent of American women in their childbearing years. One of the most common gynecological diseases that requires treatment, endometriosis is a leading cause of chronic abdominal pain in women. Unfortunately, because endometriosis is not a one-size-fits-all issue, many women suffer in silence for too long, led to believe the symptoms are all in their heads.
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of the womb (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, usually on other reproductive organs. This tissue responds just like normal uterine lining during the menstrual cycle, building up and breaking down to cause inflammation, swelling, and scarring.
You may wonder if you have endometriosis if you suffer from chronic pelvic pain or painful periods, or if you are having trouble getting pregnant. We’re here to talk about the symptoms of endometriosis and the treatment options so you can feel informed and empowered to reach out to the expert team at the Endometriosis Treatment Center of America.
Many women experience endometriosis as a chronic disease that not only causes severe pain but fertility issues as well. The severity of pain varies, sometimes radiating into the abdomen, back, and legs and often described as a cramping pain. The type of pain depends on where the endometrial tissue has grown—common locations for endometriosis include the fallopian tubes, ovaries, the ligaments supporting the uterus, and the bladder.
Between 20% and 25% of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic. For the other 75%–80%, symptoms can include:
- Severe period cramps (dysmenorrhea)
- Pain during or after sex
- Painful bowel movements or urination
- Heavy periods or bleeding between periods (intermenstrual bleeding)
- Frequent urination
- Struggles with infertility
- Other symptoms such as fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, which can be confused for irritable bowel syndrome
How Endometriosis is Diagnosed
Chronic pelvic pain can have many causes, and endometriosis is often diagnosed when treatments for other conditions come back negative. In women who have asymptomatic or “silent” endometriosis, the condition is often discovered by chance, usually because they are having trouble conceiving. All women are unique, and many experience endometriosis symptoms differently—that’s why it’s important to choose a provider who will listen and support you.
With the right provider using tried and true diagnostic techniques, a formal diagnosis is possible. First, your provider will take a detailed medical history and ask you to describe your symptoms thoroughly. During your initial consultation, your provider will ask:
- When did your pain start?
- What type of pain are you experiencing?
- How would you describe your menstrual cycles?
- What affects your pain levels?
- Is there a history of endometriosis in your family?
Once your initial consultation is complete, your doctor will perform a pelvic exam. They may also recommend ultrasound, MRI, or laparoscopic surgery to complete the diagnosis, depending on your unique situation.
Endometriosis Treatment Options
Fortunately, effective treatments for endometriosis are available. Treatment typically involves medications, such as hormone therapies and pain medications, or surgery. The approach depends on how severe your endometriosis is and whether you hope to become pregnant.
At the Endometriosis Treatment Center of America, we believe that extensive excision of endometriosis is the best option for many women. With excision, lesions are completely removed while leaving healthy tissue intact. Not only does excision decrease the chances for recurrence, it also ensures that the pelvic structure remains optimal for conceiving.
This minimally invasive surgery is a state-of-the-art procedure that offers our team greater precision and control, allowing us to eliminate a significant amount of the pelvic pain that our patients experience.
Living Without Pain
It is possible to diagnose and treat the painful symptoms of endometriosis with advanced and compassionate care. You don’t have to suffer chronic pain and infertility issues alone—the Endometriosis Treatment Center of America is here to listen to your needs and help you reclaim your life.
Endometriosis Treatment Center of America: We’re Here to Listen
For over 25 years, our team has helped women who are struggling with endometriosis and other causes of pelvic pain. If you experience debilitating, life-altering pain, it’s not just in your head. Get the support you need at either of our two state-of-the-art facilities in Lake Orion and Birmingham, MI. Request an appointment today!