Have you been diagnosed with endometriosis? Do you suspect your unexplained pain and symptoms might be endometriosis? Whether or not you have been diagnosed or you suspect you have this condition, there are several things you need to know to help you partner with a skilled an knowledgeable surgeon to help you find a successful solution for you!
Endometriosis is a very complex and often misunderstood medical condition that affects an estimated 10% of all women worldwide who are in their reproductive years. With endometriosis, tissue similar to the endometrial lining implants in various areas of the body though primarily in the pelvic region. More common locations for endometriosis lesions are the ovaries, fallopian tubes, peritoneum (pelvic side wall), outside of the uterus, cul-de-sac, bowel, bladder, rectum, appendix, ureters, and urterosacral ligaments. More rarely, other areas of the body can be affected from the vagina to the brain.
Most often, women with endometriosis complain of pain. While the pain can be cyclic, it can also occur throughout the month. Women with endometriosis may also have issues with pain during bowel movements (dyschezia), pain with intercourse (dyspareunia), pain with urination (dysuria), and pain before or during her menstrual cycle (dysmenorrhea). Pain from endometriosis can be mild to severe and the stage of endometriosis does not correlate with the severity of symptoms. Additionally, women with endometriosis can be asymptomatic.
Getting a Diagnosis
At this time, laparoscopy is the most definite way to diagnosis endometriosis. In general, endometriosis implants are too small to be seen on any type of imaging test and there are no blood tests to indicate its presence.
Keeping a symptom diary detailing your symptoms can help you and your doctor determine if a laparoscopy to diagnosis and possibly treat endometriosis would be appropriate.
Finding the Right Doctor
While many doctors know about and can to a degree treat endometriosis, it is critical that all women with this condition find the most knowledgeable and skilled surgeon she can. While currently there is no sub-specialty for endometriosis specialist, there are physicians who have taken a specialist interest in endometriosis and are thus considered an endometriosis specialist. They may be a gynecological surgeon, a reproductive endocrinologist, or maybe even a gynecological oncologist.
These specialists have extensive knowledge, training, and skills when it comes to treating this condition and often are able to offer higher success rates for their patients. They tend to be able to recognize more of the appearances of the implants, know where to look to find all of the implants, and use specialized surgical methods to more carefully eradicate the implants.
When interviewing a new doctor, the questions in this article may be helpful: What Questions Should I Ask?
Considering Your Treatment Options
The treatment options offered to you can depend on the skill and knowledge of your doctor and your specific symptoms. Your fertility concerns should also be taken into consideration. Treatment can range from pain medications to hormone therapy to surgery.
Pain medications can include over the counter pain medications, NSAID’s, or narcotics. These only treat the symptoms of endometriosis but do not treat the actual lesions.
Hormone therapy can include birth control pills, the Mirena IUD, GnRH-agonists, Danazol, or progesterone/progestin.
Surgical options include a laparoscopy for diagnosis and treatment, and in some cases a hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy though removal of the uterus and/or ovaries does not cure endometriosis.
From the Endometriosis Forums
I really don't know where to begin with this. I guess I should start with me having an abnormal pap come back and getting a biopsy to find I had preca ..... [More]
Hello All! I'm new here, and looking for some support online. It's so hard to find it in person!
I'm scheduled for my first lap in January for poss ..... [More]
I'll try to keep this as short as possible, but it's a long story. I had my first exploratory laparoscopy in 2005 due to suspected endometri ..... [More]
Hello :new: , I'm 35 and I was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis in 2007 I have had 2 laps to remove endometriosis and surgery to remove uterine p ..... [More]
Hi My name is Anissa and I am 38 with 3 kids (all by c-sections). After my last c-section, I starting to have pain in my ovaries and pelvic pain when ..... [More]
4 Myths about Endometriosis and Hormones5 Myths about Endometriosis and SurgeryA New Method to Detect Subtle EndometriosisAlleviating Symptoms Caused by CO2 Used during LaparoscopyAre there Options Besides a Hysterectomy to Treat Endometriosis?Aromatase Inhibitor for EndometriosisBowel Function and Diet after Bowel Resection for EndometriosisCan I Use HRT after an Oophorectomy if I Have Endometriosis?Diaphragmatic EndometriosisDoctors Who May Be Able to Help with EndometriosisDoes an Oophorectomy and No Estrogen Cure Endometriosis?Endometriosis - Fact or Fiction?Endometriosis and Co-existing Health ConditionsEndometriosis and HRTEndometriosis and Ovarian CancerEndometriosis and Robotic SurgeryEndometriosis Recurrence after HysterectomyEndometriosis Symptoms Years after a HysterectomyEndometriosis vs. AdenomyosisExcision of EndometriosisExcision or Hysterectomy for Endometriosis?Finding an Endometriosis SpecialistHealth Risks with an Oophorectomy for EndometriosisInterstitial Cystitis (IC)/Painful Bladder Syndrome (PBS) and EndoIrritable Bowel Syndrome or Endometriosis?Is a Hysterectomy the Answer for Endometriosis?Is an Abdominal Hysterectomy My Only Option for Endometriosis?Is Bowel Endometriosis Serious?Is Endometriosis Hereditary?Lupron for EndometriosisMirena IUD for EndometriosisMust I Have an Oophorectomy if I Have Endometriosis?Pain Management and EndometriosisPain Relief Options for EndometriosisPreventing Endometriosis RecurrenceProgesterone/Progestin Therapy for EndometriosisShould I Keep My Ovaries or Not if I Have Endometriosis?Symptom Diary for EndometriosisWhat Are the Stages of Endometriosis?What Causes Endometriosis?What Is Endometriosis and How Do I Treat It?What Questions Should I Ask an Endometriosis Specialist?
ALL Endometriosis Videos