Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue from inside the woman’s uterus spreads and attaches to other areas in the lower abdomen like the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the lining of the pelvic cavity, and/or the outer surface of the uterus. The misplaced tissue still responds to a woman’s monthly cycle, but unlike the tissues and fluids within the uterus, the tissue from endometriosis cannot be expelled during the menstrual cycle. This can result in scarring and inflammation around the endometrial areas.
- Pain prior to menstruation in the lower abdomen or painful cramps
- Pain during menstruation in the lower abdomen
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
- Abnormal menstrual bleeding
- There can also be no symptoms at all, even in severe cases.
Endometriosis is a commonly occurring condition, but its cause is unknown. Risk factors that have been identified include: starting menstruation at an early age, having frequent periods or periods that last seven or more days, never having had children, and/or anatomical issues like a closed hymen that blocks menstrual blood flow during the period. Also, a woman who has a close relative with the condition is six times more likely to develop it.
Although endometriosis can be diagnosed during a pelvic exam, laproscopy and transvaginal ultrasounds may be also be used.
Endometriosis can be treated, but not cured. Treatments may include either prescription or nonprescription pain relievers (depending on the severity of the pain), hormone therapy, or surgery. Some women have found relief in activities such as exercise, meditation, biofeedback, and acupuncture.
For more information about endometriosis, please call us at (303) 321-7115 or request an appointment for a consultation with one of our doctors.