Endometriosis – What is it?

Endometriosis (endo for short) is when there is an abnormal growth of endometrial tissue similar to the one that lines the interior of the uterus, but instead grows outside of the uterus. Endometriosis affects around 2 to 10 percent of American women between 25 and 40 years old.

Since it is a chronic disease, it cannot be cured but there are many options to ease the pain and help you feel better such as medications or surgery. It is important to meet with your doctor as soon as symptoms occur so you can develop a plan on how to maintain and manage your endometriosis.  

common symptoms

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes or how the endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus but it is important to look for signs of this condition so you can get help.

  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Lower back and pelvic pain
  • Periods lasting longer than 7 days
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Nausea and/or vomiting
  • Painful intercourse

Diagnosing endometriosis

For many women experiencing endo symptoms, it can bring much relief figuring out the issue and proper treatment. To get properly diagnosed, make an appointment with an gynecologist to evaluate medical history and perform a pelvic exam. John Hopkins Medicine explains how doctors may need to preform a laparoscopy, and biopsy any suspicious tissue.

treatments

Depending on the severity of your pain and the condition, your doctor may instruct you to take pain medication such as an anti-inflammatory like ibuprofen or naproxen. If the pain doesn’t subside from over the counter medications your doctor may write you a script for something stronger.

If neither of those work your doctor could prescribe you to take a method of birth control for its release of hormones. This will stop the heavy menstrual bleeding that is accompanied by endometriosis. There are few different options to receive hormones such as birth control pills, patches and vagina rings.

If these options don’t work your doctor may recommend a laparoscopic surgery to remove as much endometrial tissue as possible. This type of surgery is a minimally invasive surgical procedure used to definitively diagnose and treat endometriosis.

stages of endometriosis

The American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) shares how Endometriosis is broken down into 4 stages, and explains how the disease is classified per stage by a point system. A score of 15 or less indicates minimal or mild disease, and anything higher than 16 indicates moderate or severe condition.

  • Stage 1: Minimal
  • Stage 2: Mild
  • Stage 3: Moderate
  • Stage 4: Severe

 

The stages of endometriosis is based on location, amount, depth and size of the endometrial tissue. The stage of endometriosis does not reflect the level of pain associated with endometriosis, the condition of the tissue.

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