Learning About Endometriosis

The endometrium is a tissue that lines the uterus, and endometriosis occurs when the lining is outside the uterus. Endometriosis mainly affects the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic cavity. The condition can cause severe pelvic pain and abnormal menstrual flow. The modes of treatment are either conservative or surgical such as hysterectomy.

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Possible symptoms

There are common endometriosis symptoms, but not every patient displays each symptom. Pelvic pain is one of the most common symptoms a woman with endometriosis will experience. Other symptoms include pain during intercourse, urination, and bowel movements. Some women may have heavy or abnormal periods, gastrointestinal issues, or experience infertility. Endometriosis is classified into 4 stages. The stages include minimal, mild, moderate, and severe. A woman’s endometriosis classification depends on the location, size, amount, and depth of the endometrial tissue. The level of pain or symptoms experienced does not affect the assigned stage.

Modes of treatment

Management of endometriosis will differ for each woman based on the severity and associated symptoms. The doctor will also consider the overall medical history and interest in a future pregnancy. Non-surgical treatments include observation, pain medications, and hormonal therapy. Surgical options are laparoscopy, laparotomy, and hysterectomy.

The operative methods

Surgery is usually recommended when conservative treatments do not help ease the symptoms. Other reasons include severe pelvic pain, abnormal growth, and the inability to conceive. Laparoscopy helps to diagnose and treat the condition and allows the affected tissue to be removed. Laparotomy is reserved for severe cases and involves the removal of diseased tissue. Hysterectomy is the removal of some or all reproductive organs.

Is a hysterectomy required?

Hysterectomy is reserved for previously failed attempted treatments and if there are no plans for future pregnancy. This operation is only performed if the patient agrees to go ahead, as the effects on fertility are permanent. Complications are rare but can include infection, bleeding, damage to adjacent blood vessels, nerves, and organs, and fistula. If there are any unusual or concerning symptoms after the surgery, seek medical help immediately.

Alternate therapies

Sometimes the doctor may recommend combining therapies for some patients for a better outcome. Besides medical and surgical treatment, a few other management options include homeopathy, traditional Chinese medicine, and immune therapy. Daily habits such as regular exercise, proper nutritional diet, warm baths, and meditation may provide pelvic pain relief.

The right choice

Endometriosis can affect the quality of life, and many women are looking for a solution to the pain. Hysterectomy can be a good option for women who do not desire future pregnancy. The healthcare provider should always discuss the procedure and associated risks and benefits with the patient before deciding if a hysterectomy is the right choice.

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