What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects women. It can cause pain in the lower part of the belly and trouble getting pregnant.
In endometriosis, cells that are similar to the inner lining of the uterus grow outside of the uterus. It is not known exactly how or why this happens. This tissue, which does not belong outside the uterus, can break down, bleed and cause symptoms.
What are the symptoms of Endometriosis?
Some women with endometriosis have no symptoms. But most have pain in the lower part of the belly that can occur:
- Before or during monthly periods
- Between monthly periods
- During or after sex
- When urinating or have a bowel movement (often during monthly periods)
Other symptoms of endometriosis can include:
- Trouble getting pregnant
- Growths on the ovaries that a doctor can feel during an exam
All these symptoms can also be caused by conditions that are not endometriosis. But if you have any of these, you should contact your gynecologist to discuss your symptoms and possible treatments.
How is Endometriosis treated? (Medicine)
Doctors can use medicines to treat endometriosis. These include:
- Pain medicines – There are medicines that can treat the pain caused by endometriosis. But these medicines do not make the endometriosis go away.
- Birth control medicines – Certain birth control medicines can help reduce pain symptoms. This treatment is not appropriate for women who are trying to get pregnant
- Medicines that stop monthly periods – These medicines stop the body from producing certain hormones. They can be helpful for women who do not improve with birth control medicines. For women who need to take them for longer than 6 months, doctors add treatment with other hormones.
How is Endometriosis treated? (Surgery)
- Laparoscopy – in this type of surgery, a doctor will make a small cut in the belly and put a tube with a camera inside the body. Then he or she can see and remove endometriosis tissue.
- Hysterectomy – if no other treatments work, doctors might suggest a hysterectomy. This is surgery to remove a women’s uterus. Sometimes, the doctor will also remove the ovaries and tubes that connect the ovaries to the uterus. A woman cannot get pregnant after her uterus is removed.
What if I'm having trouble getting pregnant?
If you are having trouble getting pregnant, talk with your doctor. There are different medicines and treatments that can help a woman get pregnant.