HEALTHIER YOU: Learning about a difficult condition
BY DR. ANNETTE MAYES
It is a blessing to bear children, but that ability also leaves women vulnerable to conditions that are specific to female biology. March is Endometriosis Awareness Month — a time when we encourage people to educate themselves on a condition that results when uterine tissue grows elsewhere in a woman’s body.
The tissue can grow on the ovaries, behind the uterus or on the bowels or bladder. Rarely, it grows in other parts of the body. This misplaced tissue can cause pain, infertility, and very heavy periods. The pain is usually in the abdomen, lower back or pelvic areas. Some women have no symptoms at all. Having trouble getting pregnant may be the first sign of endometriosis.
Other common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful, even debilitating menstrual cramps — which may get worse over time.
- Pain during or after sex
- Pain in the intestine or lower abdomen.
- Painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods
- Heavy menstrual periods
- Premenstrual spotting or bleeding between periods
The cause of endometriosis is not known. Pain medicines and hormones often help. Severe cases may need surgery. There are also treatments to improve fertility in women with endometriosis.
The most widely-used surgical treatments include laparoscopy, in which a surgeon inflates the abdomen slightly with harmless gas, making small cuts to view and treat the growths; and laparotomy, a major abdominal procedure during which the surgeon may remove the endometriosis patches. Another option is surgery to sever pelvic nerves in order to lessen the pain.
Endometriosis, while sometimes difficult to diagnose, occurs more often than we think. If you have any symptoms consistent with endometriosis, start a conversation with your OB/GYN to work toward a diagnosis and treatment plan.
For additional information, contact the Las Vegas All Women’s Care offices at (702) 522- 9640. Or visit us at 700 Shadow Lane No. 165 (1st floor) in Las Vegas.