Iowa Women’s Health Center is a leading Endometriosis Specialist in Iowa. Endometriosis occurs when the lining that surrounds the uterus known as the endometrium is left in fragments and doesn’t completely exit the vagina during a normal menstrual period. The pieces can develop in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, vagina, peritoneum, or intestinal tract causing pain and potential problems.
Many women learn about the diagnosis of endometriosis after they experience pelvic discomfort or severe menstrual cramps. Endometriosis also makes it difficult for women to get pregnant. The milder forms of endometriosis are frequent and don’t require treatment.
Who can get Endometriosis?
Women who have a menstrual cycle can develop endometriosis. The most common time for endometriosis is at ages between 30 to 40; however, it may occur among younger females. It can also be a problem following menopausal symptoms for some women, but it is rare.
ENDOMETRIOSIS SYMPTOMS, CAUSES, AND OTHER REASONS
What is the cause of Endometriosis?
The causes of endometriosis are not understood. Experts believe that bits of endometrium pass through the fallopian tube and escape in the pelvic cavity (space within the pelvis that contains all the organs of reproduction). Tiny pieces of tissue can be deposited on the surfaces of reproductive organs. When menstrual cycles occur bleeding will cause the tissue to swell, as does the uterus endometrium. The surrounding tissue within the area could be damaged. As time passes, scar tissue may form as well as cysts may form.
What are the signs of Endometriosis?
In many cases, endometriosis presents no symptoms. If symptoms are present, these may include:
- Menstrual cramps that are painful and uncomfortable
- Sexually painful
- It is difficult to become pregnant
- Back pain or abdominal cramps in menstrual cycles.
- Painful bowel movements
There is no link between the severity of symptoms or the severity of endometriosis. This means that patients with the mild disease could experience very intense symptoms. In contrast, those suffering from severe disease may not show any serious signs.
ENDOMETRIOSIS DIAGNOSIS and TESTING
What can you do to determine whether you have Endometriosis?
If you are suffering from any of the signs mentioned before, talk to your physician or OBGYN. You may need the surgical procedure known as laparoscopy to confirm the diagnosis. This procedure uses a tiny scope is introduced through a small incision inside the abdomen so that the doctor can check for any endometrial implants. Often, the doctor will examine the implants for confirmation of the diagnosis. When the diagnosis is established, the doctor will remove the implants in this procedure.
ENDOMETRIOSIS TREATMENT AND MANAGEMENT
What are the treatments for endometriosis?
There isn’t a cure for endometriosis. There are, however, treatments to limit the amount of tissue growth and relieve the painful symptoms.
Treatment options for symptoms of endometriosis could consist of:
- Birth Control pills
- Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs)
- Mirena(r) IUD
- Danazol(r) (Danocrine)
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH agonist)
Although treatment with medication can relieve discomfort, it won’t improve fertility rates. However, surgery can increase the chances of having a baby and ease the pain.
In the most severe instances, both medical and surgical treatments will help relieve the signs of pain. For mild disease, surgical treatment can improve the chances of having children. For mild and severe endometriosis, options such as artificial insemination or IVF (IVF) might be considered if the pain isn’t the primary issue.
Iowa Women’s Health Center in Cedar Rapids, IA is here for you. Our caring medical team gives you every option and helps you make the best decision for yourself. So give us a call or click on the appointment link to set up the right diagnosis & treatment plan for you.