What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs when the endometrium – tissue from the inner walls of your uterus – breaks away and begins to form on the outer walls of your uterus. The endometrium may spread to your ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines, or other organs.
Is Endometriosis Hereditary?
Endometriosis is a common female condition. However, it does tend to occur in family clusters and is thought to have a genetic predisposition.
What Causes Endometriosis?
The causes of endometriosis are still not fully understood. However, as mentioned previously, endometriosis appears to run in families and may be hereditary.
What Are The Symptoms Of Endometriosis?
Some symptoms of endometriosis may be similar to those experienced during your period. If you are unsure if the symptoms you’re experiencing are normal, it is always best to speak with a doctor. As with any condition, symptoms can vary from person to person. Signs and symptoms of endometriosis may include:
- Back pain
- Abdominal pain
- Heavy periods
- Pain during sex or exercise
- Painful urination or bowel movements
- Bleeding or spotting between periods
- Mood changes
How Can My Doctor Test For Endometriosis?
If you have experienced any of the above symptoms, your doctor will perform certain tests to confirm a diagnosis. Testing may include:
- Pelvic exam
- Laparoscopic procedure
How is Endometriosis Treated?
If you have endometriosis, conservative treatments such as pain medications or hormone therapy are available. These treatments won’t get rid of endometriosis, but they can help provide pain relief. If you are suffering from severe endometriosis, surgical options are also available.
When Should I Consider Surgery?
If your endometriosis is severe and medication doesn’t ease your symptoms, there are surgical options available where removal of the endometrium is possible. Surgical options include:
- Operative laparoscopy surgery
Some surgical options may impact your ability to have children in the future. Speak with your doctor if you are planning to have children.
What Happens If It Is Left Untreated?
In severe cases of endometriosis, chances of getting pregnant can be impaired. During your period, endometrium sheds from your uterus lining, causing monthly bleeding. Endometrial tissue that grows into other tissues may bleed during your period as well; this blood has nowhere to go and becomes trapped. The trapped blood irritates nearby tissue and may create scars, cysts, and the fusion of tissues, including reproductive organs, which may lead to infertility.
What Are Uterine Fibroids?
The most common tumors found in the female reproductive system are fibroids. Fibroids are small, hard masses varying in size, that form in the uterus. For the most part, fibroids are non-cancerous and do not increase your risk of developing uterine cancer.
What Causes Uterine Fibroids?
The exact cause of uterine fibroids is not fully known, however, hormones, genetics, and previous pregnancies may play a role in their development.
What Are The Sign And Symptoms Of Uterine Fibroids?
Fibroid signs and symptoms include:
- Heavy or longer than usual periods
- Uncommon bleeding between periods
- Pain in the pelvic area or lower back
- Pain during sex
- Frequent urination
How Are Uterine Fibroids Diagnosed?
Fibroids are usually discovered when your doctor performs a routine pelvic exam and feels abnormalities in your uterus. Your doctor may use an ultrasound to confirm if you have fibroids. An ultrasound can help identify the location and size of the fibroids. If the ultrasound cannot fully confirm a diagnosis, your doctor may perform additional tests such as:
How Fast Do They Grow?
The rate at which uterine fibroids grow can vary. Fibroids can take many years to grow or they may grow at a more rapid pace.
Is There Any Treatment Or Medication For Fibroids?
Fibroids are not cancerous, do not prevent pregnancy, and symptoms tend to be bearable or painless. Because of this, there is no immediate need for medication or fibroid removal. However, if you are looking for pain relief or to alleviate other symptoms, medication is available to help shrink the fibroids.
If you prefer removal of the fibroids, surgery and minimally invasive procedures are available. Options for fibroid removal include:
- Laparoscopic or robotic myomectomy
- Hysteroscopic myomectomy
- Abdominal myomectomy
- Focused ultrasound surgery
- Endometrial ablation
- Uterine artery embolization
Can I Shrink Fibroids Naturally?
In most cases, fibroids will usually shrink naturally after menopause. Some patients may also opt to use natural remedies to help treat fibroids.
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis or fibroids, schedule an appointment with an Ob/Gyn specialist at Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn. With specialized care and cutting-edge treatments in obstetrics and gynecology, Huey & Weprin Ob/Gyn offers a wide variety of gynecologic and obstetric services from leaders in Ob/Gyn research development. Call 937.771.5100 or fill out the form on this page to schedule an appointment.