Endometriosis is estimated to affect more than 11% of American women, causing them pain — pelvic pain, painful periods, and pain during sex. The compassionate providers at OB-GYN Associates PC have years of experience helping women find relief from the symptoms of endometriosis. They work closely with each patient to prevent potential complications. If you have questions about pelvic pain or endometriosis, call the office in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, or schedule an appointment online.
Endometriosis occurs when tissues normally found inside your uterus begin to grow outside the uterus. The overgrowth often develops on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus.
Patches of endometriosis can also be found on connective tissues that hold the uterus in place. Although it’s not common, endometriosis may develop on your bowels or bladder.
The tissue that lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) changes throughout your menstrual cycle. It prepares to nurture a fertilized egg and, when you’re not pregnant, it sheds, causing your monthly menstrual periods.
When the same tissue grows outside your uterus, it goes through the same cycle. As it sheds, it bleeds into the pelvic region, which causes inflammation and scarring.
Endometriosis causes one primary symptom: pain. Your pain may range from mild to intense as you experience:
Some women also develop chronic lower back pain and bleeding or spotting between their menstrual periods.
It’s estimated that endometriosis causes infertility in 5-10% of couples who can’t get pregnant. When the inflammation and scarring of endometriosis affect your ovaries or fallopian tubes, it can interfere with your ability to get pregnant. In severe cases, the fallopian tubes may be entirely blocked.
Patches of endometriosis may not be noticeable during a pelvic exam, so your provider at OB-GYN Associates PC may perform an ultrasound or diagnostic laparoscopy to determine if you have endometriosis.
Each woman’s treatment is based on the severity of her symptoms and the extent of the growths. Your treatment plan may include:
Hormonal therapy doesn’t cure endometriosis, but it can relieve your pain through a few different mechanisms depending on the drugs used, like with hormonal birth control. Some hormones prevent new endometrial growths, others shrink existing patches, and some temporarily stop your periods.
When hormonal medication doesn’t help or your symptoms are severe, the next treatment option is surgery to remove existing patches of endometriosis.
The providers at OB-GYN Associates PC often perform minimally invasive surgery to remove endometriosis. This type of surgery uses a few very small incisions, so you have less postoperative pain, minimal scarring, and quicker recovery.
If you experience pelvic pain or other symptoms of endometriosis, call OB-GYN Associates PC or book an appointment online.