Endometriosis affects about 11% of women aged 15 to 44 years and causes infertility in about one-third of them. The team at Women’s Healthcare Physicians of Naples urges you not to ignore symptoms such as menstrual and pelvic pain. Please call their office in Naples, Florida, or schedule an appointment online to be sure endometriosis isn’t causing your symptoms.
Endometriosis occurs when the lining of your uterus, the endometrium, grows outside the uterus. Patches of endometrial tissue commonly grow on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, outside the uterus, and on the connective tissues that hold the uterus in place. However, endometriosis may also develop on the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowels, bladder, or rectum.
The endometrial tissue inside your uterus thickens during each menstrual cycle, which prepares it for nurturing a fertilized egg. If it’s not needed, the tissue breaks down and leaves the uterus as menstrual bleeding, and the cycle restarts.
When endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus, it reacts to hormones and goes through the same cycle as the tissue inside your uterus. When it bleeds into the pelvic area, it causes inflammation, swelling, and scarring.
About one-third of women with endometriosis don’t have any symptoms. The rest usually experience pain, such as:
You can’t always associate the amount of pain with the severity of your endometriosis. Some women with severe endometriosis have little pain. By comparison, some women with mild endometriosis report severe pain.
You may also have other symptoms like bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, and bloating.
Endometriosis is one of the top causes of infertility. About one-third of women with endometriosis are infertile, whether they experience symptoms or not.
Since there isn’t a cure for endometriosis, treatment focuses on relieving pain. Hormones are responsible for endometrial changes, so you can use hormone therapy to treat symptoms effectively. Hormone therapy may also prevent the growth of new endometriosis, but it won’t affect existing patches.
Your doctor at Women’s Healthcare Physicians of Naples may recommend minimally invasive surgery to treat endometriosis. Using a few small incisions, a laparoscope containing a high-definition camera gives the doctor a good view of the tissues, then they can surgically remove or destroy patches of endometriosis with a laser.