Women's Reproductive Issues - Endometriosis

A Common Reproductive Health Concern: Endometriosis

There are many women’s health issues that we need to be aware of. Some can have lasting effects and are hard to treat. Some can be physically painful, but can be treated somewhat easily. Endometriosis is in that latter category, and while painful, can be effectively treated. Read the information below written by our RN and then make an appointment with your primary healthcare provider or gynecologist. Take control of your health!

Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) is found outside the uterus. It may involve the ovaries, Fallopian tubes, or other pelvic structures.  Rarely, endometriosis can spread beyond the pelvic region. The endometrial tissue in the abnormal location reacts to hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle.  It thickens, breaks down, and becomes bloody each time the woman has a period. However, because it is “displaced” (abnormally located outside the uterus), the bloody tissue does not exit the body and it is trapped. This can lead to scar tissue and adhesions (abnormal bands of fibrous tissue), which may cause pelvic organs to stick together.

The most common symptom of endometriosis is painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pain may also occur with urination, moving the bowels, or sexual intercourse. Fertility problems also may occur with endometriosis.  Any woman having problems such as these should see her physician or other primary care provider.

Here is the good news: there is effective treatment available. The first step is to visit your physician or primary healthcare provider, to review your symptoms and receive a physical examination.  It may be helpful to have a friend or family member accompany you to your appointment to take notes and listen to the physician. Diagnostic testing may be performed and may include ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or laparoscopy.

Your healthcare provider may recommend the use of over-the-counter pain medication (such as Tylenol, Advil, Motrin, or Aleve). Warm baths or heating pads may also be of comfort. There are other options available, such as hormonal treatment or surgery.  Discussing your symptoms with your healthcare provider is the first step to being properly diagnosed and properly treated. 

If you desire more information, you can check out the following websites:
Mayo Clinic
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists

If you have questions, we are available – with a licensed, registered nurse on hand to help you think through your next steps.

We care about the whole woman, and want you to live your best life!

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