Treatment for Endometriosis: How a Board Certified FPMRS Can Help
March 1st marks the beginning of Endometriosis Awareness Month, a month dedicated to shining a light on the symptoms and treatment of endometriosis, a condition that affects over six million women and teens in the United States, and millions of other women worldwide.
If you have a history of painful periods, pain with sex, or general pelvic pain, there is a good chance you have endometriosis.
Cause and Symptoms of Endometriosis
While the definite causes of endometriosis aren’t 100% clear, possible causes include:
- Retrograde menstruation
- Embryonic cell growth
- Surgical scar implantation
- Endometrial cells transport
- Immune systems disorder
Symptoms can be varied, with some women experiencing little to no pain and others experiencing moderate to heavy amounts of pain during periods, sexual intercourse or with bowel movements. Other symptoms include:
- Excessive bleeding
Treatment Strategies for Endometriosis
While there is not a cure for endometriosis, certain treatment options can help with pain and infertility. Treatment will vary depending on your symptoms, your age, and whether or not you have future plans of becoming pregnant.
Medication – Over-the-counter pain relievers may include aspirin and acetaminophen, as well medicines that inhibit prostaglandin (the hormone that controls processes such as inflammation, blood flow, and the formation of blood clots and the induction of labor). These include ibuprofen and naproxen sodium. If pain is very severe, prescription drugs may be required.
Hormonal Therapy – Hormonal treatment aims to stop ovulation for as long as possible and may include: oral contraceptives, progesterone drugs, a testosterone derivative (danazol), and GnRH agonists (gonadotropin releasing hormone drugs). Side effects may be a problem for some women.
Surgery – If your doctor has determined that surgery is the best treatment option, a board certified FPMRS (Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgeon) can determine what surgical method works best for your needs. FPMRS surgeons are highly skilled in the diagnosis, evaluation and both surgical and non-surgical treatment of pelvic floor disorders such as endometriosis.
Types of Surgery For Endometriosis
A more conservative surgery option consists of using a laparoscope to find and remove any growths to remove pain and increase the possibility of pregnancy. In some cases, hormonal therapy may be prescribed in conjunction with conservative surgery.
In more severe cases, your surgeon may recommend a hysterectomy, removal of all growths, and removal of ovaries (also called oophorectomy). These types of surgeries are considered only when other treatment options have offered little relief, as the surgery causes early menopause. Additionally, it is only considered when you have no future plans to become pregnant.
The OB-GYNs at Cherokee Women’s have a deep understanding of women’s anatomy and the types of concerns that women struggling with endometriosis may be facing. Our board certified FPMRS staff members can address concerns related to scar tissue, internal trauma after childbirth, excessive bleeding and infertility. If you have questions or concerns regarding symptoms or treatment for endometriosis, don’t hesitate to contact our office to schedule your appointment.
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