What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis happens when tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows abnormally. This tissue may grow on the ovaries, the outer surface of the uterus or other areas.
Women with endometriosis experience symptoms differently. More severe symptoms don’t always mean more severe disease.
Common endometriosis symptoms include:
- Pain, the most common sign of endometriosis, may show up:
- During your menstrual period, leading to painful cramps or urination
- During or after sexual intercourse
- Around your lower back or abdominal area
- Fatigue, or excessive tiredness you can’t explain
- Digestive complaints, such as nausea, diarrhea or constipation
Our “centers of excellence” approach to care connects you to a team with urogynecology subspecialty training. You’ll quickly receive the right tests and treatments because our providers are skilled in treating your specific concern.
Depending on your symptoms, your provider will conduct a thorough physical examination with or without a full pelvic examination. Your provider may recommend one or more other tests, including:
- Imaging tests: Computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) produce detailed images of organs and structures within your body.
- Endometrial biopsy: During this procedure, a doctor removes a small sample of tissue from your endometrium (inner lining of the uterus) for further analysis in a lab.
- Laparoscopy: During this minor surgical procedure, a doctor inserts a laparoscope (thin tube with a lens and a light) into a small incision in your abdominal wall. This procedure allows your doctor to see into the pelvic area and determine the location and size of endometrial growths.
Before developing a treatment plan, your provider will talk with you about available treatment options. At LVHN, you’re an active member of your care team. We consider your preferences before moving forward in the treatment process.
We offer a full range of endometriosis treatments, including:
- Active surveillance: This treatment approach is sometimes called “watchful waiting.” It means your doctor thinks it’s best to watch you closely before more aggressively treating your symptoms.
- Medication: Certain medications (including hormonal birth control and hormone therapy) can slow the disease progression, improving your symptoms. Your provider may also prescribe pain medication to help you manage more severe pain.
- Endometrial ablation: In this less-invasive procedure, your doctor removes a thin layer of the uterine lining to disrupt excessive bleeding.
- Surgery: Your doctor may recommend a minor surgical procedure to remove certain abnormal growths. For more severe cases, surgery to remove the uterus and cervix (total hysterectomy) may be the best treatment. Often, our surgeons perform these procedures using robotic technology, which helps ensure the best results with fewer risks to you.