Endometriosis gwinnettFor women who experience frequent pelvic pain, one of the most common causes is a chronic condition known as endometriosis. Affecting 1 in 10 women in the United States, endometriosis causes tissue that is typically found in the lining of the uterus to grow on the outside of the reproductive organs, sometimes extending to other pelvic organs as well, like the bladder or bowel. This can cause symptoms such as chronic pain in the area, especially before and during menstrual periods, as well as pain during sex, heavy menstrual bleeding, nausea or vomiting, and long menstrual periods. In 30-40% of women with endometriosis, the condition can also create problems with fertility.

Endometriosis is a chronic and progressive condition. The tissue can continue to grow throughout the abdomen and may worsen over time. While there is no cure for the condition, today, endometriosis patients have a variety of options available to manage their symptoms and keep the misplaced tissue at bay.


Endometriosis Treatment

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, ask Dr. Kristine Gould about the possibility of endometriosis. The diagnostic process will often begin with a pelvic exam and may also include an ultrasound. However, the only way to truly confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis is through a procedure called a laparoscopy – a surgery which involves using tiny incisions and a small camera to examine the pelvic cavity and look for endometrial tissue.

The first step toward treating endometriosis is often one or more medications. While specific types of over-the-counter pain relievers can manage discomfort, the growth of endometrial tissue may also be slowed using hormonal medications like birth control pills, hormonal IUDs, or a form of hormone therapy known as GnRH (gonadotropin-releasing hormone) agonists.

In some cases, surgical intervention may be an option as well. Conservative surgery can be performed to remove the endometrial tissue while keeping the reproductive organs intact, although the tissue will typically return. In more severe cases, a total hysterectomy (with or without removal of the ovaries) may be an option. However, this is typically not considered unless the symptoms are severe and until all other options have been exhausted.

To learn more about endometriosis and to discuss whether this may be the cause of your pelvic pain, schedule an appointment with Dr. Kristine Gould at Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett.


Endometriosis FAQs

What causes endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is still somewhat of a mystery. While symptoms don’t tend to appear until puberty or years after, there is evidence that the condition is present even during fetal development. There are several theories about potential contributing factors, including genetics, retrograde menstruation (in which menstrual blood and endometrial cells flow backward through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity), embryonic cell growth, and more.

How does endometriosis affect fertility?
Fortunately, not all women with endometriosis have difficulty conceiving or carrying out a healthy pregnancy. But in some cases, the endometrial tissue can obstruct the fallopian tube, blocking the sperm and egg from uniting, or the inflammation caused by the condition can damage the sperm and egg. For these women, excision surgery to remove the endometrial tissue may be able to improve their fertility.


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Gynecology Associates of Gwinnett
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