Endometriosis occurs when the tissue lining the inside of the uterus (the endometrium) becomes implanted outside the uterus, usually on the ovaries or the lining of the pelvis.
This tissue growth creates scar tissue and causes variable amounts of pelvic pain that tends to worsen over time. The cause of endometriosis is uncertain.
While some with this condition show no symptoms, most women may experience one or more of the following signs:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea)
- Deep pain during intercourse
- Pain during urination and/or bowel movements
Treatment Options For Endometriosis
Endometriosis is usually treated with medications and/or surgery. The best treatment plan is determined by the location and severity of the symptoms, findings on pelvic exam and plans for future pregnancy.
Typical non-surgical treatment options include:
- Over-the-counter pain relievers (Advil, Motrin IB, etc.)
- Hormone therapy such as birth control pills or progestins alone
- Intermittent medical menopause using hormone suppression
Surgical options are typically conservative, using minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to remove the burden of endometriosis and scar tissue without removing the reproductive organs.
For those having failed conservative surgery and completed their childbearing, total laparoscopic hysterectomy with or without removal of the fallopian tubes and ovaries provides the greatest promise for symptom relief.