Endometriosis can be a painful and debilitating problem that many women experience during their fertile years, and it may sometimes cause infertility issues. Gynecologists Sarah Newton, MD, and Leslie Zak, MD, at Red Rock OB/GYN in Las Vegas, have extensive experience helping diagnose and treat women with symptoms of endometriosis, and finding effective methods to reduce pain and restore fertility. To find out more about treatments for endometriosis or problems with conceiving, call Red Rock OB/GYN today or book an appointment online.
Endometriosis is a problem that around one in 10 women experiences in their reproductive years, with diagnosis most often being made between the ages of 30 and 50. The endometrium is the lining of the uterus. If you have endometriosis, it means the tissue that makes up this lining is growing in places outside the uterus.
Endometriosis responds to the female hormone estrogen, making the tissue swell and bleed as it does in the uterus when you have your period. When these tissues swell and bleed, they cause inflammation that can lead to the formation of scar tissue. Inflammation and scarring cause pain and can affect fertility.
Endometriosis develops most frequently on the:
The precise cause of endometriosis isn’t known, but there could be triggering factors such as immune system dysfunction and genetic predisposition.
Many women don’t experience symptoms. Those who do can suffer chronic pelvic pain, particularly around the time they’re menstruating and often during sex, and heavy bleeding during their period. You may also feel pain during bowel movements or when urinating if the bowel or bladder has endometriosis implants.
Infertility is another possible symptom of endometriosis. About 40% of women who experience problems conceiving have endometriosis. The inflammation can block the movement of sperm or eggs, or even damage them. If your endometriosis is severe, it can completely block the fallopian tubes.
Your gynecologist at Red Rock OB/GYN makes a preliminary diagnosis of endometriosis based on your symptoms and a pelvic exam, but the only way to confirm the diagnosis is by having a laparoscopy. During the laparoscopy, your OB/GYN collects a biopsy, a small sample of tissue, for examination at a lab.
There’s no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments available that ease your symptoms and help improve your fertility. If pain is the main problem, your doctor tries medication to ease the symptoms. Possible medicines you can use include:
These medications can ease the pain, and hormonal treatments may prevent new tissue growth, but they won’t cure the endometriosis. Surgery is an option for removing the endometriosis, relieving pain and improving fertility.
After surgery, you need to take hormonal medication to help delay the return of endometriosis. If your pain is severe and doesn’t respond to treatment, hysterectomy is an option, but only for women who don’t wish to have children.
If you struggle with painful periods or excessive menstrual bleeding, or have problems conceiving, get an accurate diagnosis and the most appropriate treatment by calling Red Rock OB/GYN today or booking an appointment online.