Endometriosis is a common gynecological disorder that can cause pain and difficulty getting pregnant. The physicians and nurse practicioners at Capital Women's Care Howard County located in Fulton, Maryland, treat painful symptoms of endometriosis and discuss options that may help you get pregnant.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis happens when the tissue that normally grows inside your uterus and sheds during your menstrual period starts to develop in other places outside your uterus. This tissue is called endometrium.
This disorder most often affects the following organs:
Outer surface of the uterus
Lining of your pelvis
Rarely, endometriosis may affect areas outside your reproductive system, such as your bladder or intestines.
The endometrium that grows outside your uterus continues to develop and shed with your menstrual cycles. Since this tissue has nowhere to exit your body, it becomes trapped. This may lead to pelvic pain that may get worse during your period.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain. Although pelvic pain is normal during your menstrual period, endometriosis can cause severe pain that’s much worse than what most women experience. This pain may grow worse over time.
Other potential symptoms of endometriosis include:
Pain during sex
Pain during urination
Pain during your period
Heavy bleeding during your period
Bleeding in between periods
Trouble getting pregnant
Who gets endometriosis?
Any woman who menstruates can get endometriosis, but this disorder is most frequently diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s. Certain factors may increase your risk of getting endometriosis, such as:
Having never had children
Having a mother, aunt, or sister with endometriosis
Having menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
Having short menstrual cycles
How do you diagnose and treat endometriosis?
First, your OB/GYN at Capital Women’s Care reviews your medical history and performs a complete pelvic exam to check for signs of endometriosis. If they suspect you may have endometriosis, they may look for visible signs of the disorder with an ultrasound.
Though there’s currently no cure for endometriosis, your Capital Women’s Care provider works with you to develop a personalized treatment plan to manage your symptoms. Depending on your needs, this may include:
Procedures such as laparoscopy
If you have endometriosis and are trying to get pregnant, your provider can recommend treatments to help with that, too.