Endometriosis affects about 10% of women and is usually diagnosed when a woman is in her 20s or 30s. Some experience severe pain, while others don’t have any symptoms, but they’re all equally affected by the disease’s ability to cause infertility. Victoria Mills, DO, at Mills Obstetrics & Gynecology, carefully screens women at risk for endometriosis and develops truly individualized treatment plans that relieve their symptoms and support their long-term health. To learn more about endometriosis, call the office in Oklahoma City or book an appointment online.
Endometriosis occurs when tissues that line the inside of your uterus begin to grow outside the uterus. These tissues typically grow on your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the outer surface of your uterus. It’s not as common, but endometriosis may also develop on your bladder, bowel, and intestines.
Inside the uterus, this tissue, the endometrium, goes through changes in response to hormones that regulate your monthly menstrual cycle. It thickens to nurture a fertilized egg, then if you don’t become pregnant, the lining breaks down and becomes your menstrual period.
When similar tissue grows outside your uterus, it continues to go through monthly cycles. As it breaks down, it bleeds into the pelvic area, causing inflammation and scarring.
You may not experience any symptoms, but when you do, you’ll have pain. Women with endometriosis develop:
Some women also develop heavy periods or bleeding between their periods. Gastrointestinal symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and constipation may appear, particularly during their menstrual periods.
Yes, endometriosis is associated with infertility. Because the associated inflammation damages the fallopian tubes and uterus, about 40% of infertile women have endometriosis.
Women who don’t have symptoms often discover they have endometriosis when they have a checkup to see why they can’t get pregnant.
Dr. Mills customizes your treatment based on the extent of your endometriosis, the severity of your symptoms, and whether you want to get pregnant in the future.
Hormonal medications help stop the bleeding, slow the growth, and reduce your pain. However, medications won’t affect existing areas of endometriosis.
The only way to treat endometriosis is with minimally invasive surgery to remove areas of endometriosis. In severe cases, or when you don’t want to have more children, you may consider a hysterectomy.
If you want to get pregnant, Dr. Mills may prescribe medication that stops ovulation. Although this puts you into temporary menopause (which sounds like the opposite of what you’d want), it does something important: It stops the growth of endometriosis.
When you stop taking the medication, your menstrual cycle returns, and you have a better chance of getting pregnant.
If you have pelvic pain, pain during intercourse, or heavy menstrual bleeding, call Mills Obstetrics & Gynecology or book an appointment online.