If you’re experiencing severe menstrual pain or can’t seem to get pregnant, you may have endometriosis — a condition in which endometrial tissue grows outside of the uterus. John Judd, MD, offers effective diagnostic and treatment options for endometriosis at Midwest Urogynecology in St. Louis. To schedule an exam, contact his office or use the online scheduler.
Endometriosis is a disorder that causes tissue meant to grow inside of your uterus grow outside instead. It usually involves the fallopian tubes, ovaries, and tissue that lines the pelvis. The endometrial tissue acts just like it would if it were in your uterus by thickening, breaking down, and bleeding during menstruation. The problem is, it can’t leave your body and instead gets trapped.
Most commonly, endometriosis causes pelvic pain, which can go far beyond typical menstrual cramps and worsen over time. Other symptoms may include:
Most anyone with a uterus can develop endometriosis, but the following factors increase your risk:
Endometriosis tends to respond well to medications or surgery, depending on the severity of your symptoms. Dr. Judd may recommend taking over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen or naproxen to ease menstrual cramps.
If this doesn’t suffice, hormone therapy may prove helpful. Hormonal birth control methods help regulate the hormones that cause the monthly buildup of endometrial tissue. As a result, some women end up with lighter periods and far less, if any, pain.
Especially if you have endometriosis and wish to become pregnant, surgery can help by removing as much of the affected tissue as possible without affecting your ovaries or uterus. This surgery may also help if you’re experiencing intense pain from the disorder. It can be done through traditional surgery or laparoscopically, in which a slim viewing instrument is inserted through a small incision around your belly button.
A hysterectomy to remove the cervix and uterus, along with the ovaries, may be the best option in severe cases.