This is the presence of endometrial tissue (the tissue lining the uterus) found outside the uterine cavity. This affects up to 10% of reproductive-aged women. Endometriosis is a diagnosis to consider in women with pelvic pain or infertility. Some women with endometriosis have no symptoms and some have debilitating pelvic pain, painful menstrual periods, pain with intercourse and decreased fertility.
What are the risk factors for endometriosis?
- Young age starting menstrual period.
- First-degree relative with endometriosis.
- Late menopause.
- Thin body type.
- Never had children.
- Menstrual period longer than 5 days.
- Menstrual periods more often than every 28 days.
How is endometriosis diagnosed? Usually clinically. This means that the history and exam suggest endometriosis. The only way to confirm it is to have a surgeon or ob/gyn perform a laparoscope and get a look-see in the abdomen and see endometrial tissue outside the endometrial (uterine) cavity.
How is it treated? We treat the symptoms. Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs and/or hormonal birth control pills can help with the pain.
When should the patient see an ob/gyn? If symptoms do not respond to conservative therapy (as above) or if having difficulty getting pregnant. An ob/gyn can prescribe gonadotropin-releasing hormone analogues, danazol, or surgically remove the endometrial tissue—all of which may help control symptoms.
Hope this helps.