The month of March symbolizes Endometriosis Awareness Month and with that, millions of American physicians are trying to raise awareness about the condition that occurs in 1 out of every 10 women worldwide. As common as the disease may be, most women are unaware of this condition.
Endometriosis is commonly associated with pelvic pain but it occurs when tissue, similar to the lining in of the uterus, escapes the uterus and grows tissue in painful areas around the pelvic cavity. Other than the uterus, the condition is likely to develop tissue in these common areas:
- Fallopian tubes
Endometriosis generally affects women in their 30s and 40s, but the condition can occur at any time. Most women are unaware of this, because the pain is timed coincidentally with their menstruation cycle, while some experience pain at various times of the month. Pain may also be experienced during intercourse, urination, and bowel movements. As the body responds naturally to changes in levels of estrogen, this extra tissue can grow and bleed during menstruation. The tissue around the endometriosis site can also bleed and break down cells, causing scar tissue and lead to different organs sticking together.
Diagnosis Is Difficult
It is estimated that 200 million women worldwide suffer from endometriosis. While plenty of physicians have mastered what they do, a great majority of them fail to recognize symptoms. Currently the best diagnosis test is through laparoscopy surgery, which a skilled surgeon will inspect your abdomen and pelvic regions to diagnose, analyze and in some cases remove the disease from the site.
Symptoms to Know
Endometriosis is more than gut-wrenching cramps. It can cause a variety of symptoms. From painful periods (dysmenorrhea), to pain during sexual activity, and urinary tract difficulties. According to the Endometriosis Foundation of America, these are some of the many characteristic signs of endometriosis:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Painful menstruation
- Irregular vaginal or uterine bleeding
- Large, painful cysts
- Gastrointestinal cramping
- Rectal pain
The only option women have to diagnose their symptoms is to undergo a minimally invasive laparoscopy procedure. It is typically performed on an outpatient basis, and once diagnosis confirms of endometriosis the treatment plan can begin. Specialized surgery, such as laparoscopic excision is one of the most effective forms of treatment for those who do not respond well to contraceptive-based treatment, painkillers or change in diet.
If you are experiencing any signs of endometriosis and in need of a professional opinion, call our office to schedule an appointment with our expert physicians.