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All About Endo... Endometriosis

All About Endo… Endometriosis

 

For many women, painful periods are a fact of life. But when the pain is so bad that you miss school or work, that’s not normal and you should see an OB/GYN for evaluation.

 

What is endometriosis and how common is it?

 

Endometriosis is when the cells that form the lining of the uterus are found outside of the uterus. These cells can be found in multiple different places. They can be found in the ovary, fallopian tubes, on the outside of the uterus, or even on the appendix!  About 1 in 10 reproductive age women suffer from endometriosis

 

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

 

Endometriosis can rear its ugly head in multiple different ways. Most commonly, women with endometriosis have chronic pain that occurs around the time of their menstrual period. If their bladder or bowels are involved, a woman with endometriosis can have pain with bowel movements or with urination. Additionally, women when endometriosis can have pain with sexual intercourse.

 

Occasionally, women with endometriosis can have difficulty getting pregnant and infertility is the only sign that they suffer from this disease.

 

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

 

If an OB/GYN suspects that a patient has endometriosis, they may start with a physical exam to look for masses or any tender spots. To truly diagnose someone with endometriosis, a diagnostic laparoscopy (surgery to look inside the abdomen) with biopsy must be completed.

 

How is endometriosis treated?

 

Treatment of endometriosis is wide-ranging and is dependent on how bad/how much disease there is inside the abdomen. There are both medical and surgical options for treatment. Normally medical options are attempted first, followed by surgical management.

 

Medical treatment:

 

Medical options for treatment of endometriosis include pain killers (NSAIDs like ibuprofen), birth control pills (combine or progestin-only pills) and GnRH blockers. Hormonal medications are most often used to slow the growth of the endometrial cells with the goal of stopping formation of scar tissue.  These medications do not typically cure endometriosis, but rather control what is already there.

 

Surgical treatment:

 

Surgical removal of endometrial implants can result in decreased pain and can help with infertility issues. Although surgery can be helpful, it is possible that the pain will come back because it is not always possible to see endometriosis and new implants can form.

 

Surgery in combination with medical management of endometriosis can result in a longer time without pain and is often the most beneficial.

Author
Matthew Wollenschlaeger, M.D. Matthew Wollenschlaeger, MD, FACOG Matthew Wollenschlaeger, MD, FACOG, is a board-certified OB/GYN who joined the Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology team in 2020. He is proud to provide high-quality care to the women throughout Maitland and Oviedo, Florida. Originally from Ocala, Florida, Dr. Wollenschlaeger attended undergraduate school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where he received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Biochemistry. He returned to Florida to earn a Master of Science degree from the University of South Florida. Dr. Wollenschlaeger completed his medical degree at The University of South Florida College of Medicine in Tampa, Florida. He went on to complete his OB/GYN training at Orlando Health, Winnie Palmer Hospital for Women and Babies in Orlando, where he was the Chief Quality Resident. At Premier Obstetrics and Gynecology, Dr. Wollenschlaeger enjoys being able to offer the full spectrum of women’s healthcare and is dedicated to treating women at all stages of life.

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