What is Endometriosis?
March is Endometriosis awareness month. This disease causes abnormal growth of endometrial (uterine) cells/tissue outside the uterus. It affects 1 in 10 women and can impact a young girl or young woman as soon as her menstrual cycle begins. However, it more commonly affects women in their 30’s and 40’s.
About five million women in the United States are diagnosed with Endometriosis. It most commonly occurs in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and membrane lining the pelvic cavity outside the uterus, but can grow in other areas of the body as well.
Endometrial tissue is shed each month during menstruation, when the tissue thickens, breaks down, and bleeds out through the vagina. Displaced endometrial tissue acts the same way, but becomes trapped within the body and develops into adhesions and scar tissue. This can result in debilitating lower abdominal pain that’s often described by sufferers as “barbed wire” wrapped inside the abdomen or pelvic area. Women can experience this pain generally, during intercourse, or even while going to the bathroom. Endometriosis is also known to be present in women who are experiencing infertility.
It is important you seek out a proper diagnosis as well as a doctor who recognizes and validates your pain. Endometriosis can be life-altering, and the pelvic pain so severe, that it can keep you from daily activities. You deserve an accurate diagnosis that affords you every treatment option to get your symptoms under control.
Diagnosis of endometriosis can be done through pelvic exam, ultrasound, or laparoscopy. One of the most challenging factors in diagnosing Endometriosis is that imaging systems – like MRIs, CT scans and ultrasounds – don’t always show the disease. This is why your doctor may recommend a biopsy during laparoscopy to be safe.
Endometriosis Treatment Options
Treatment can include medication, hormone therapy, or surgery, depending on the severity of your condition. Many insurance providers are likely to encourage non-invasive treatment options first. However, if these do not have a substantial impact on your pelvic pain, it is possible to get coverage for laparoscopic surgery and treat the condition through excision or coagulation.
Excision removes endometrial implants (tissue growth outside the uterine wall) by cutting them away from the surrounding tissue with scissors, a very fine heat gun, or a laser beam. The technique does not damage the implants, so the gynecologist is able to send a biopsy of the excised tissue to the pathologist for proper diagnosis. Excision allows the gynecologist to separate the implants from the surrounding tissue, thus ensuring that the entire implant is removed and no endometrial tissue is left.
Coagulation & Endometriosis
Coagulation destroys implants by burning them with a fine heat gun or vaporising them with a laser beam. When coagulating implants, care must be taken to ensure that the entire implant is destroyed, so it cannot regrow. Care must also be taken to ensure that only the implant is destroyed, and no underlying tissue, such as the bowel, bladder or ureter, is damaged. The possibility of accidentally damaging the underlying tissue means that most gynaecologists are wary of using coagulation on implants that lie over vital organs, such as the bowel and large blood vessels.
Endometriosis can be overwhelming and life-changing for women. You do not have to suffer needlessly. There are ways to treat this disease thoroughly. If you have questions about your pelvic pain or want to know more about Endometriosis, please contact our office directly. We are here to help you on this journey.
Other Groin & Pelvic Pain Institute Related Blogs:
–WAYS YOU CAN PREVENT ADDUCTOR TENDINOPATHY
–THREE IMPORTANT REASONS TO GET RID OF YOUR PAIN IN FORT LEE, NJ