Endometriosis can be the source of intense pelvic pain and infertility for women in their childbearing years. If you’re experiencing menstrual periods that are far more painful than usual, it’s time to see the physicians at Memphis Obstetrics & Gynecological Association, PC, with locations in Memphis, Germantown, and Bartlett, Tennessee, as well as Southaven, Mississippi,. There are treatments for endometriosis itself, as well as its complications. Call or click to make an appointment today.
The inner walls of the uterus – the endometrium – are renewed and disposed of each month when you’re not pregnant. The mobility of endometrial cells can be a problem for some women. Though these are meant to be flushed out with your monthly menstrual period, endometrial cells can adhere to your ovaries, fallopian tubes, or to the tissue lining your pelvis. In rare cases, these can even spread outside the pelvic area.
Endometrial tissue continues to act as though it were still inside your uterus, following the pattern of your menstrual cycle. However, the bleeding portion of your cycle becomes a problem when endometrial tissue outside your uterus has no way to leave your body. When these cells attach to your ovaries, a type of ovarian cyst may form. Scar tissue and adhesions resulting from endometriosis can cause pelvic organs and tissue to stick together.
The main symptom of endometriosis is pain that’s usually associated with your menstrual period, but typically more severe than your regular menstrual pain. Many women with endometriosis also find that discomfort and pain increase with time. It’s also common for pain from endometriosis to continue several days into your period, when pain usually stops at the onset of bleeding.
Other common symptoms of endometriosis include:
Treating endometriosis symptoms with medication usually follows one of two routes. Pain relief is often advised when symptoms are manageable, at least until the point where these no longer provide relief. Hormone therapy can sometimes reduce the symptoms of endometriosis. These are not, however, a cure for the condition, merely a way to abate symptoms, which may return after hormone therapy is stopped.
Conservative surgical solutions including minimally invasive surgical procedures such as laparoscopy and robotically-assisted surgery target the removal of endometrial tissue without disrupting your reproductive organs to preserve fertility. If you’re past your childbearing years, full or partial hysterectomy may be advised.