Endometriosis

(Source of information-UpToDate)

The normal tissue that lines the uterus and bleeds during the menstrual period is called the endometrium. Endometriosis is not cancer.  It is a disorder in which tissue that is similar to the endometrium develops outside of the uterus. Typically this occurs in the pelvis, but it may occur in virtually any part of the body.

The most common locations for endometriosis are: the outer surface of the ovaries, the tissue that lines the abdomen and the area behind the uterus.  The fallopian tubes, bowel, and bladder can also be involved. Most women have endometriosis in more than one location.

Risk factors for developing endometriosis include: No pregnancies resulting in the birth of an infant, endometriosis in a woman's mother, short menstrual cycles with prolonged flow; White or Asian race;

Conditions that decrease the amount or frequency of menstrual bleeding lower the risk of endometriosis. Some examples are amenorrhea (absent menstrual periods), pregnancy, and prolonged use of birth control pills

Endometriosis may have no signs or symptoms. In those who do have symptoms, the amount of pain and bleeding does not always correlate with the severity or amount of endometriosis. It is possible to have mild endometriosis with severe pelvic pain.

For many women, severe pelvic pain is the main symptom of endometriosis. Pelvic pain usually occurs just before or during menses or during or after sex.  Other symptoms may include pain during bowel movements, spotting before the menstrual period, frequent or heavy uterine bleeding, and pain during urination. Painful periods may worsen over a period of years.

Pelvic pain is probably the result of bleeding from areas of endometriosis and release of substances that cause pain (eg, prostaglandins).  Endometriosis can also cause infertility.

Endometriomas (chocolate cysts) — Endometriomas are areas of endometriosis that are large enough to be considered a mass (tumor). They are usually filled with old blood that has a chocolate appearance. Endometriomas may be seen during a pelvic ultrasound, although only surgery can confirm that the mass is an endometrioma.

The diagnosis must be confirmed during surgery. There are no blood tests or imaging tests that can make a definitive diagnosis of endometriosis. Laparoscopy is commonly used to diagnose and treat endometriosis. In an operating room after general anesthesia is given, a scope is inserted into the abdomen to view the abdomen and pelvis.  

At surgery, endometriosis appears as small blue, purple, or red implants. Scar tissue (adhesions) and/or an ovarian cyst may also be noted.
A biopsy (removal of a small piece of tissue) is usually done to confirm the diagnosis.

There are several treatment options for women with endometriosis: pain medication, birth control pills, other forms of hormonal therapy, surgery.

If you feel you may be suffering from symptoms endometriosis, or if you would like to discuss this topic further, call today to make an appointment to see Dr. Scott at (770) 405-0391.

Conditions Treated
  • Menopause
  • Leaking Bladder
  • Uterine Fibroids
  • Genital Prolapse
  • Painful Menses
  • Chronic Pelvic Pain
  • Endometriosis
  • Polycystic Ovaries
  • Osteoporosis

SCOTT GYNECOLOGY & PELVIC SURGERY - Dr. Vincent S. Scott   (770) 405-0391
5041 Dallas Highway, Powder Springs, GA 30127    drscott@scottgynecology.com

Copyright © 2009 SCOTT GYNECOLOGY & PELVIC SURGERY. All Rights Reserved.

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