Normally, endometrial tissue is found only inside the uterus. The uterus is the reproductive organ where a fetus develops. Hormones cause the tissue to form there, preparing the body for a fertilized egg. If you do not become pregnant, the tissue leaves the body during menstruation.
In endometriosis, endometrial-like tissue is found outside the uterus. For example, it may be found on organs in the abdomen or pelvis. In these places, the tissue still responds to hormones. It swells, breaks down, and bleeds. But it is unable to leave when you menstruate. Surrounding tissue becomes inflamed. There is often scarring.
Lesions were created by swelling and breakdown of endometrial tissue outside the uterus.
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history, and perform a pelvic exam. These are best done early in the menstrual period. Since you may not have any symptoms, diagnosis is usually confirmed with a
. This test allows the doctor to see if there are patches of endometrial tissue and scar tissue.
The goals of treatment are to:
Slow endometrial growth
Restore or preserve fertility
Treatment options depend on:
Severity of symptoms
Size, number, and location of growths
Degree of scarring
Extent of the disease
Age and whether you want to have a baby
Your doctor may recommend:
Over-the-counter pain relievers to ease mild symptoms
Prescription pain relievers (often needed)
Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce inflammation and help with cramping (best when taken on a regular basis)
Hormones are an option for women who are not trying to become pregnant. Birth control pills and other injectable drugs interfere with estrogen production. These medications may decrease pain and shrink the size and number of endometrial growths.
But endometrial growth tends to come back when the hormones are stopped. A common way to take birth control pills is continuously, so that you no longer menstruate.
If you have severe symptoms or you want to get pregnant, doctors can try to remove endometrial growths. This is often done with laparoscopic surgery. In severe cases, it may be advised to also
remove the uterus and ovaries
. But this means that you cannot get pregnant.
If you are diagnosed with endometriosis, follow your doctor's
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care
provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a
substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER
IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the
advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to
starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a