Endometriosis can occur at any age during a woman’s menstrual cycle years, but it is most commonly diagnosed in women between 25-40 years of age. As endometrial tissue grows it causes inflammation, scar tissue and pain. It can also cause adhesions that bind organs together. It is very important to seek treatment for endometriosis.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Endometriosis symptoms include:
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Lower back and/or pelvic pain during menses
- Pain during or after sex
- Painful bowel movements or urination during menstrual periods
What should I do if I have these symptoms?
If you suspect you have endometriosis, it’s best to make an appointment with your OB/GYN for an exam. Your doctor will likely perform a pelvic exam and an ultrasound. Laparoscopy is required to make the diagnosis and stage the disease.
What causes endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis is unknown, however:
- Genetics may play a role
- Endometrial tissue might move from the uterus to other body parts through the blood or lymph system or by spilling out of the fallopian tubes during menses
- There may be an immune system component
How is endometriosis treated?
If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, your OB/GYN will help you decide the best treatment for you based on the extent of the disease, your symptoms, your age and your plans for pregnancy. Treatments include:
- Pain medication
- Hormone treatment such as birth control pills, GnRH agonists and antagonists, progestins, and others
- Surgical removal of the endometriosis usually by laparoscopy, although laparotomy may be required in some circumstances
Endometriosis is a health problem that can affect your quality of life. Accurate diagnosis and optimal treatment can often alleviate your symptoms.