Tissue found inside the uterus is called endometrium. When this tissue is found outside of the uterus, it results in a condition called endometriosis. While relatively common, found in one in ten women, endometriosis is typically diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s, and can be found in the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bladder, and rectum. These endometrium implants can grow and bleed like the lining of the uterus in response to the body’s estrogen production. The breakdown and bleeding each month can cause scar tissue, known as adhesions, in different areas of the body that is often painful during menstruation.
Endometriosis is commonly associated with chronic pelvic pain, especially in the days before and during a patient’s menstrual period. In some cases, sex can be painful, as can bowel movements and urination if endometriosis is present in the bowel and bladder. However, some women have no symptoms and endometriosis is discovered during other medical procedures.
Anti-inflammatory medications are often used to treat the pain associated with endometriosis while hormonal medications are used to slow the growth of these cells in other areas of the body. However, medication cannot get rid of endometrial cells that are already growing outside of the uterus. Laparoscopic surgery can remove endometrium implants and provide pain relief for many women. But 40-80% of women have a recurrence of pelvic pain within two years of surgery. A combination of surgery and hormonal medication can help extend a patient’s pain-free experience. In severe cases, a hysterectomy including the removal of the ovaries can serve as a “last resort” option.
For more information on endometriosis or to speak with a highly qualified doctor, contact the office at Newport Beach OB/GYN Medical Group, Inc. for an appointment for a consultation.
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