Endometriosis & Treatment
Endometriosis is a condition in which the type of tissue that forms the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) is found outside the uterus. It is a painful chronic disease that is estimated to affect 10% of women of all ages and backgrounds during their reproductive years. While some women do not show any indications of the disease, many experience the following symptoms:
- Difficulty conceiving
- Discomfort during intercourse
- Heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia)
- Severe cramps and pelvic pain (dysmenorrhea)
- Lower abdomen pain/painful bowel movements
- Vaginal Bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia)
Endometriosis Treatment Options
At Women’s Health Connecticut, your ObGyn can help determine if you have endometriosis and develop an individualized plan for treatment that’s best for you. After reviewing your medical history, completing an exam and any necessary testing, your physician will counsel you on next steps and may provide additional referral sources to support your needs. Treatment will depend on the severity of the disease, which is classified in stages (1-4), and may include medication, hormone therapy, surgery or a combination of all three.
Medication – Pain medication is a common therapy used to manage this condition that includes a broad spectrum of options that will be tailored specifically to address your pain level. Nonprescription pain relievers most commonly include nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, also called NSAIDs. Additional treatment for stronger pain may be prescribed, including products that are often utilized to treat neuropathic pain related to endometriosis.
Hormone Therapy – Endometriosis pain is also treated utilizing hormones that effectively suppress ovulation with estrogen and progesterone. These include short or long-term hormonal contraceptive options such as birth control, progesterone and progestin (injection or IUD) or gonadotropin-releasing hormone antagonists (GnRH). Selection is based on a detailed discussion with your doctor on your symptoms, if you intend on trying to get pregnant and the severity of your endometriosis.
Surgical Treatment – With severe endometriosis, surgery offers an option to remove or destroy endometriomas (noncancerous cyst or tumor with shreds of endometrial tissue), relieve pain, and may increase the chances of pregnancy. As a chronic condition, this option will provide short-term pain relief and may need to be revisited. Women’s Health Connecticut has many providers that specialize in minimally invasive gynecologic surgery and can provide personalized surgical care approaches that include hysteroscopic, laparoscopic, and robotic surgery.
Your first step in seeking treatment is to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above. The Women’s Health Connecticut network offers a range of providers from across the state that can provide convenient and compassionate care.