Endometriosis is a disorder that causes uterine lining to develop in areas other than the interior of the uterus. In the majority of endometriosis cases, the additional uterine lining will grow on the outside of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, and the ovaries.
Endometriosis primarily affects women who are in their childbearing years. It may start in the early teens or last as long as a woman's 50s or 60s in some cases. While endometriosis can affect anybody, there are many cases where a family history seems to play a role. If a close family member, for example a mother or sister, has endometriosis, a women may be more likely to have it themselves.
Endometriosis can affect each person differently. In some women, endometriosis doesn't cause any noticeable symptoms, even if the amount of endometrial growth is fairly large. In other cases, even a small amount of endometrial growth can cause chronic pelvic pain. The pelvic pain is frequently accompanied by very heavy bleeding during periods. It's also possible for women to experience issues like pelvic pain during ovulation and discomfort or pain during intercourse. In some cases, endometriosis is the main reason for infertility.
An endometriosis diagnosis is made during a laparoscopic procedure. Dr. Barrett will often have formed a preliminary diagnosis of endometriosis after performing a pelvic exam and discussing symptoms with the patient. This is typically followed by a laparoscopy to make a definitive diagnosis. This procedure can be done as an outpatient procedure with a recovery time of just a few days in most cases.
The treatment for endometriosis varies according to the patient and their specific symptoms. Hormone therapy can be helpful for many endometriosis patients, as it can offer symptom control for the long term. If endometriosis symptoms aren't controlled by medications or hormones, surgery to remove excess endometrial growth may be performed. Hysterectomy can also be a solution if a woman is finished with childbearing.