3 FAQ About Endometriosis

Every woman has a menstrual cycle. The primary reason for menstruation is to prepare the body for pregnancy. However, some women experience difficulty and pain with their monthly cycle. These women might have a condition called endometriosis. Women with this condition may have a hard time becoming pregnant. 

If you would like to know about this disorder, here are the answers to three frequently asked questions about endometriosis.

1. What Causes Endometriosis?

The uterus contains endometrial tissue, which is made up of connective tissue and blood cells. The primary function of endometrial tissue is to prepare the uterus for ovulation. When this tissue grows elsewhere, such as the ovaries and the lining of the pelvis, it causes endometriosis.

When a woman has her menstrual cycle, it causes a change in hormones. This disruption in hormones causes the misplaced endometrial tissue to become inflamed, which results in painful periods. According to the most recent statistics, more than 11 percent of women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffer from this condition.

2. What Are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?

Women with endometriosis often complain of pain and cramping that begins before their period starts and continues for days afterward. Women usually feel this pain in the pelvic area, but they can also feel it in their abdomen and lower back. It's also common for women with endometriosis to experience pain during and after sexual intercourse.

Besides pain, other symptoms of endometriosis include heavy periods, bleeding between periods, fatigue, constipation, bloating, and nausea. Many women with endometriosis also struggle with infertility.

The symptoms of endometriosis are similar to that of pelvic inflammatory disorder (PID) and also polycystic ovary syndrome (POCS), which makes it difficult to correctly diagnose. Some women may only have mild symptoms of endometriosis, but for others, their symptoms are severe and debilitating.

3. How Does an Obstetrician Treat Endometriosis?

Women with endometriosis should see an obstetrician, which is sometimes referred to as an OB. Some of the treatment options an OB might recommend include hormonal medications that help to regulate the menstrual cycle and decrease heavy bleeding. When medications don't work, and the symptoms of endometriosis are more severe, an effective treatment option is laparoscopic surgery, which is done to cut away endometrial lesions.

For women who want to become pregnant, an OB will usually refer women to an infertility specialist. Once a woman with endometriosis does become pregnant, they should see their OB for prenatal care. Women who don't want to become pregnant may want to consider a hysterectomy, which involves the removal of the uterus and ovaries.