Endometriosis is a disorder that causes tissue that normally lines the uterus to grow outside of the uterus. This tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds during menstruation. Because the body can’t flush it out, the tissue stays trapped inside, which can lead to complications. While the specific cause isn’t known, issues related to cell movement, hormones, surgical scars, and immune system disorders may contribute.
Pelvic pain and painful periods, which tend to increase over time, are the main symptoms of endometriosis. You may also experience painful urination or bowel movements, pain during intercourse, fatigue, diarrhea, nausea, constipation or bloating. Because endometriosis can make it difficult to conceive, many women are diagnosed while seeking infertility treatment.
Endometriosis can be mistaken for other conditions associated with pelvic pain, such as ovarian cysts or inflammatory bowel disease. Digestive symptoms lead some people to mistake the condition for irritable bowel syndrome. Through a thorough exam, which may include a biopsy or hysteroscopy to determine the cause of abnormal bleeding, Dr. Turner can help determine the underlying cause.
While there is no known cure for endometriosis pain, treatments such as medications, hormone therapy, and surgery aim to minimize symptoms and lower the risk for complications. Oral contraceptives can help by regulating your periods. For some women, Dr. Turner performs minimally-invasive surgeries to help relieve symptoms. These may include endometrial excision, which removes lesions in the uterus, or endometrial ablation, which severs nerves in ligaments that secure the uterus.
In addition to any needed medical treatment, lifestyle measures may help ease endometriosis symptoms. To minimize pain and cramping, use a heating pad or take a warm bath. Routine exercise and over-the-counter pain medications such as ibuprofen may also help. For emotional support, consider joining an endometriosis or infertility support group.
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