Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrium lining of the uterus is found on the outside of the uterus. This means that when the endometrial lining sheds during menstruation, this lining also sheds and bleeds. Unlike the uterus lining which escapes through the vagina, this tissue has nowhere to go and thus causes painful symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
In addition to fatigue, nausea, constipation and excessive bleeding, endometriosis has been known to cause pelvic pain throughout the duration of the menstrual cycle, painful intercourse, bowel movements and urination. Endometriosis is usually the cause for infertility among many women.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
A pelvic exam may be done to feel for abnormalities in the uterus while a transvaginal ultrasound is used to capture images of the uterus and identify ovarian cysts that may be caused by the endometriosis. An MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) may be taken to view the internal organs as well. Laparoscopic surgery may also be considered to assess if any endometrial tissue may be growing outside the uterus.
What about treatment?
Endometriosis may be treated using pain medications, anti-inflammatory drugs or prescription drugs to relieve the symptoms of painful menstrual periods. Hormonal therapies such as birth control, Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists, Medroxyprogesterone (Depo-Provera) or Danazol. Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUD) may also be an option.
In suitable cases, surgery may also be an option when other treatment methods have not been successful. Dr Lerm may do this by surgically removing the affected areas of endometriosis, burning of the endometriosis lesions of the uterus or ridding the scar tissue to which the endometriosis is attached. As a last resort, in suitable cases, some women may benefit from an endometrial ablation or hysterectomy to treat endometriosis.