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What Is Endometriosis?

Endometrial tissue is a type of tissue that grows on the walls of your uterus. You shed this tissue during your period. When you have endometriosis, this tissue grows outside of your uterus, in your abdomen, and your pelvis. The growth of this tissue is painful and often causes heavy bleeding.

Endometriosis is something many women experience, and if you have symptoms, you are not alone.

How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

Endometriosis is diagnosed through a combination of tests and exams. Your provider will likely perform a pelvic exam to feel for any growth or request imaging for a clearer picture of what’s going on inside your body. Depending on how much information your provider needs, they may recommend an ultrasound, MRI, or both.

Endometriosis Treatment Options

Endometriosis can be treated using pain medication, hormones, or surgery. You and your provider can create a treatment plan based on your medical history and preferences.

Hormonal Treatment

Hormonal medications can be used to manage your endometriosis symptoms and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue outside your uterus. This should reduce your pain and bleeding. Common hormone treatment options include hormonal birth control options, as well as:

  • Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists
  • Progestin therapy
  • Aromatase inhibitors

Managing Endometriosis Pain

Pain is often a big part of endometriosis. Some women find that the pain can interfere with daily activities and prevent them from enjoying life. Your provider can recommend pain medication to help reduce your discomfort. Over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatories (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen, may be the first thing your provider recommends.

However, if that isn’t the best option for you, your provider may recommend a prescription option like naproxen.

Surgical Endometriosis Treatment Options

If your symptoms are severe, your provider may recommend laparoscopic surgery. Laparoscopic surgeries are minimally invasive procedures that allow your provider to remove the endometrial tissue outside your uterus, which should reduce your pain. The minimally invasive method comes with fewer scars, often lets you go home the same day, and offers a shorter recovery period.

Another surgical option is a hysterectomy. This can also be done laparoscopically. A hysterectomy removes the uterus and, if needed, the ovaries and fallopian tubes. You will be unable to get pregnant after a hysterectomy.

Before considering a surgical procedure, talk to your provider about your future family planning goals. Your provider can recommend the treatment option that gives you the best chance of becoming pregnant in the future if that’s what you want.

Discuss Endometriosis Treatment With Your Provider

Endometriosis can feel overwhelming, but your Genesis OBGYN provider is here to help you manage and treat it. If you suspect you have endometriosis or are interested in beginning treatment with a prior diagnosis, contact us to request an appointment today.