Central California Faculty Medical Group (CCFMG) and its University Centers of Excellence are now Inspire Health Medical Group.

Basics of Endometriosis and When to Talk to Your Health Care Provider

According to the National Institutes of Health, the median number of cycles a person who menstruates will experience is 451.3, corresponding to 34.7 years of menstrual activity if considering an average of 13 cycles per year. 

That many menstrual cycles in a lifetime is bound to cause some pain and discomfort over the years, however, some experience heightened symptoms due to endometriosis. 

The causes of endometriosis are unknown, but there are many theories. What medicine does know is that endometriosis is an often-painful condition where tissue that is similar to the inner lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. This condition usually affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining the pelvis. This tissue thickens, breaks down, and bleeds, as the lining of the uterus would, however, it grows in places where it does not belong and does not leave the body. The surrounding tissue can become irritated and form scar tissue. Bands of fibrous tissue called adhesions can also form. These bands of tissue can cause tissue and organs to stick to each other. 

The symptoms of endometriosis include painful periods, painful bowel movements or urination, excessive bleeding, pain during sex, infertility, and other symptoms. 

Diagnosis of endometriosis does require a healthcare provider. There are multiple ways to confirm an endometriosis diagnosis; some include pelvic exams, ultrasounds, and MRIs. Once an endometriosis diagnosis is confirmed, various treatments can be utilized to treat the condition. 

Treatment depends on the severity of the endometriosis. Pain medicines may work for some, but others may need hormone therapy or even laparoscopic surgery to remove endometriosis tissue. In extreme cases of endometriosis, a hysterectomy with the removal of the ovaries may be performed when other treatments have failed. 

If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, contact your healthcare provider or University Obstetrics and Gynecology Center, which provides comprehensive care for Central Valley patients. 

Learn more about University Obstetrics & Gynecology Center