By Hana Mikdachi, MD – ETSU OB/GYN
Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain in women. Up to 50% of women with infertility and up to 70% of women and adolescents with pelvic pain are found to have endometriosis.
So what is endometriosis exactly?
Endometriosis occurs when tissue that is normally found inside the uterus (the endometrium) migrates and grows outside the uterus. This tissue can migrate to and grow on the ovaries,
the bowel, the bladder, and sometimes even the diaphragm of the lung
This tissue, which should not be outside the uterus, can bleed, break down, and cause pain.
Are there any risk factors that increase my chances of having endometriosis?
The risk factors that increase chances of having endometriosis are:
• Never being pregnant
• Early age of getting your first period (less than 11 years old)
• Having short menstrual cycles (less than 27 days between your periods)
• Heavy bleeding at the time of your period
• Being taller than 68 inches, having a low body weight
• Consuming a diet high in trans unsaturated fat
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
• Just before or during your menstrual period. Sometimes, your painful periods may get worse over time.
• Between your menstrual periods, with worsened pain during the period
• During or after sex
• With bowel movements or while urinating, especially during the period
2. Difficulty Getting Pregnant.
Endometriosis can make it more difficult for you to become pregnant. This may happen because endometriosis may cause scar tissue to develop, which can damage your ovaries or fallopian tubes. However, if you do become pregnant, endometriosis will not harm your pregnancy. In fact, your endometriosis symptoms usually improve during and after pregnancy.
Women with endometriosis can develop cysts on their ovaries, this is called an endometrioma. Endometriomas are sometimes seen during a pelvic ultrasound or felt during a pelvic exam.
So how do I know if I have endometriosis?
Your doctor may suspect that you have endometriosis based
on your symptoms of pelvic pain or painful menstrual periods. That being said, the ONLY way to know for sure if you have endometriosis is to have surgery, so your doctor can actually see and biopsy the abnormal tissue. Endometriosis lesions are like freckles on your skin; they cannot be seen on ultrasound,
x-ray, or other non-invasive methods.
So how do I know if I have endometriosis?
Your doctor may suspect that you have endometriosis based on your symptoms of pelvic pain or painful menstrual periods. That being said, the ONLY way to know for sure if you have endometriosis is to have surgery, so your doctor can actually see and biopsy the abnormal tissue. Endometriosis lesions are like freckles on your skin; they cannot be seen on ultrasound, x-ray, or other non-invasive methods.
So, how do I treat my endometriosis?
There are many options to treat endometriosis. You and your doctor should discuss treatment with medications or with surgery. If you decide on treatment with medications, then your options will include nonsteroidal anti-inflamatory drugs (ibuprofen/advil), hormonal birth control pills, other hormonal drugs (like Depot-Lupron). In other cases, surgery is performed to diagnose endometriosis and remove it before you take any medicine. Talk to your doctor or nurse about which approach is right for your situation.
When is surgery a reasonable option to treat endometriosis?
You should consider surgery for endometriosis if you are having severe pain, if you failed treatment with medications, if you have chocolate cysts on your ovaries that are causing you pain, or if you are having trouble getting pregnant and endometriosis might be the cause.
Surgery for endometriosis usually is done with small incisions on your belly, and in most cases you get to go home the same day.
Where can I get additional information about endometriosis?
You can visit any of these websites to learn more about endometriosis
• endometriosis.org – A nonprofit website dedicated to information about
endometriosis and treatment
• American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (acog.org)
– Frequently asked questions about endometriosis.
• The Endometriosis Association (endometriosisassn.org)
– An independent, nonprofit, self-help organization of women with endometriosis, clinicians, and others interested in the disease.
Does any doctor in the Tri-Cities areas treat endometriosis?
Dr. Hana Mikdachi at ETSU ObGyn is a minimally invasive gynecologic surgeon that frequently treats endometriosis with both medications and surgery. Dr. Mikdachi is the first and only fellowship trained MIGS surgeon in the Tri-Cites.
Please visit our website for more information: http://www.etsuhealthcare.com/migs
325 North State of Franklin Road, 1st Floor, Johnson City, TN 37604
423-439-7272 | www.etsuhealthcare.com