Endometriosis affects about one in ten, or 146 million, women worldwide during their reproductive years. It’s often a painful disorder that occurs when tissue that lines the uterus starts to grow outside the uterus and commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissue lining the pelvis. While there is no known cure for endometriosis, treatment options are available to alleviate pain and reverse many of the infertility issues it may cause.
Signs and symptoms of endometriosis
Many women who have endometriosis do not experience any signs or symptoms. This is one of the many reasons your annual pelvic exam so important. An annual screening from skilled physicians can help diagnose disorders like these early, before they cause pain or other serious health complications. Here are some of the most common symptoms of endometriosis:
- Pelvic pain that usually occurs just before menstruation
- Painful intercourse
- Cramping during intercourse
- Cramping or pain during bowel movements or urination
- Pain with pelvic examinations
Additional symptoms that may be related to endometriosis include:
- Lower abdominal pain
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Lower back pain
- Chronic fatigue
- Irregular or heavy menstruation
- Painful urination
- Blood in urine
Additional symptoms may occur with advanced endometriosis that has spread to other areas of the body. In rare cases this disorder may cause chest pain or coughing blood due to endometriosis in the lungs or headaches or seizures due to endometriosis in the brain.
Treatment options for endometriosis
Treatment for endometriosis typically involves medication or surgery. If you have any of the signs and symptoms listed above, talk to your gynecologist to find out which treatment option is right for you. Treatment will depend on the severity of your symptoms and whether you hope to become pregnant in the future. Common treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen, Advil, Motrin IB or Aleve.
- Hormone therapy to help slow tissue growth and prevent new implants of endometrial tissue.
- Laparoscopic surgery to remove the endometriosis while preserving your uterus, ovaries and fertility.
If you are experiencing signs or symptoms of endometrioses, the doctors at Bay Area Physicians for Women have extensive experience and knowledge to help you feel better. Call 251-344-5900 to schedule an appointment today.