Endometriosis is a chronic and often painful condition that affects women of childbearing age. It affects approximately 1 in 10 women and can significantly impact the quality of life. Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium, the tissue that usually lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus.
Endometriosis most commonly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. However, it can also affect other organs in the body, such as the bladder, bowel, and rectum. Endometriosis symptoms can vary significantly from woman to woman and range from mild to severe. You must see your doctor for a diagnosis if you think you might have endometriosis. If you have endometriosis, Dr. Shamim Patel can create a personalized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Here are five things you need to know about endometriosis:
It Has Various Symptoms
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. This can be during your period, ovulating, or even randomly throughout the month. Other symptoms include:
- Heavy or irregular periods
- Pain during sex
- Pain with urination or bowel movements
Some patients also experience gastrointestinal symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, and bloating.
Endometriosis May Cause Infertility
Approximately 25-40% of women with endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant. While there is no definite answer as to why endometriosis causes infertility, it is thought that the endometrial tissue may block or damage the fallopian tubes or interfere with implantation.
In some cases, fertility treatments like in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be necessary to help you conceive. According to Dr. Patel, an endometriosis specialist, your doctor may recommend surgery to remove the endometriosis tissue before starting IVF.
Diagnosis May Take Years
The median time it takes to get a diagnosis of endometriosis is eight years. This is because the symptoms of endometriosis are often similar to other conditions like pelvic inflammatory disease or irritable bowel syndrome.
Additionally, there is no definitive test for endometriosis. Your doctor will likely start with a pelvic exam and may also order an ultrasound or MRI. A laparoscopy, a surgical procedure with a small camera inserted into the abdomen, is the only way to diagnose endometriosis definitively.
There Is No Cure
Unfortunately, there is no cure for endometriosis. However, she can create a personalized treatment plan to help relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Treatment options include:
- Hormone therapy
- Pain medication
The ideal treatment plan may vary depending on the severity of your symptoms and whether you want to get pregnant in the future.
It May Run in Families
Endometriosis is often thought of as a “woman’s disease,” but it can affect anyone with a uterus, including trans men and non-binary people. Endometriosis is also believed to run in families. If your mother or sister has endometriosis, you may be at an increased risk for the condition.
However, endometriosis can occur in anyone, regardless of family history. If you come from a family where endometriosis is common, it is essential to be aware of the symptoms and to see if you think you may have the condition.
In summary, endometriosis is a condition that affects the lining of the uterus. If you think you may have endometriosis, an experienced Ob-gyn can help. Early diagnosis and treatment can relieve your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Call Dr. Patel today to schedule an appointment.