Pelvic pain is a reality for many women, and it can happen for a number of reasons. Research shows that 15% of American women of childbearing age and up to 32% of women worldwide deal with some sort of pelvic pain.
Some of those women deal with pain severe enough to affect their daily activities. Various pelvic conditions show similar symptoms, which can make diagnosis and treatment more difficult.
Endometriosis is a common source of pelvic pain, affecting about 11% of American women ages 15-44, though it happens most frequently in your 30s and 40s. This condition can lead to complications such as infertility and, in rare cases, some forms of cancer.
Women in the Lake Mary, Florida, area looking for treatment of pelvic pain connected with endometriosis or other conditions can find help from Dr. Christopher Quinsey and his experienced medical team.
To better understand how endometriosis affects your body, let’s examine what it is, what it does to you, and how we can treat it.
What is endometriosis?
Your endometrium is the tissue inside your uterus that makes up its inner walls, also known as the endometrial lining. It’s composed of two layers of mucosal tissue and plays an important role in your monthly cycle as well as pregnancy.
Endometriosis develops when the endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus, in places like your ovaries and fallopian tubes.
Several risk factors can contribute to developing endometriosis:
- Periods starting at an early age
- Menopause at an older-than-normal age
- Heavy, long menstrual cycles
- Higher estrogen levels than normal
- Lower body mass
- A family history of the condition
- Reproductive tract disorders
How does it affect your body?
Typically, your body expels endometrial tissue during menstruation. But since this condition causes it to grow outside of your uterus, endometriosis can lead to inflammation of other organs, scarring, and adhesions (fibrous tissue that sticks to other organs).
The result can be:
- Lower back and pelvic pain
- Long periods
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Bowel and urinary problems
- Blood in your stool or urine
- Nausea and vomiting
- Painful sex
- Bleeding between periods
Endometriosis can lead to ovarian cysts, higher risks of ovarian cancer, intestinal and bladder problems, and infertility. This condition often starts several years after you begin your menstrual cycle. Symptoms may improve during pregnancy and may disappear after menopause.
How is it treated?
Treatment methods vary depending on how severe your symptoms are and whether you’re trying to get pregnant.
Pain medications and hormone therapy are nonsurgical solutions that can ease mild symptoms, but surgical solutions are the most effective in removing the excess endometrial tissue.
Laparoscopic surgery is a conservative method to remove the tissue from other organs while preserving your ability to reproduce. We might recommend hormone medications used after the surgery to reduce pain.
Fertility treatments are also available, such as ovary stimulation or in vitro fertilization if you're having problems having a baby.
Endometriosis can be very painful and create other problems, but it is quite treatable. If you’re experiencing symptoms of this or other pelvic conditions, make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey today to get relief.