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Living well with endometriosis
Endometriosis is a painful and chronic reproductive disease that affects women and teens. This illness occurs when tissue from the lining of the uterus is found in places outside its normal location such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus. A diagnosis of endometriosis can be alarming because there is no cure, and it can cause severe pelvic pain and infertility. The good news is, with early diagnosis and treatment options, it’s entirely possible to live well and have a healthy pregnancy in spite of the disease.
OB-GYN Mark-Anthony Umobi, shares information on endometriosisBayhealth OB-GYN Mark-Anthony Umobi, MD, MRCOG, FACOG, shares information on signs, diagnosis, and treatment options for patients suffering from endometriosis.
Signs and Symptoms
One of the early signs of endometriosis is severe and painful cramps during the menstrual cycle. Dr. Umobi suggests keeping a detailed account of your symptoms to be able to effectively communicate what you’re experiencing with the physician. “You can track the severity of the cramps, how often, and if it’s an aching or sharp pain. This will be helpful to determine the best treatment options,” Dr. Umobi said.
Besides uncomfortable cramping, symptoms can also include painful bowel movements or urination, abnormal or heavy bleeding during periods, and pain during intercourse. “Endometriosis symptoms are usually present during the menstrual cycle,” Dr. Umobi said. “The tissue that was shed has nowhere to go, and therefore surrounding areas may become inflamed and swollen.”
Dr. Umobi explained when a patient has symptoms of pelvic pain, the physician may order a series of tests including blood work, vaginal cultures to check for infection, an ultrasound, or an MRI. “Endometriosis can be diagnosed and treated using a procedure called laparoscopy,” he said.
“It allows the physician to examine the inside of the pelvis and determine if the pain is being caused by the disease.” Laparoscopy is performed when an ultrasound or MRI doesn’t provide enough information or insight for a diagnosis. It’s a low-risk, minimally invasive procedure that is also an effective treatment option.
Symptoms can be managed with pain medication and hormonal medications such as birth control pills. Dr. Umobi said if growths are affecting other organs, or the pain is disturbing daily life, surgery is the next step. Laparoscopy is done through one or more small incisions and removes endometrial growths and scar tissue. “The procedure should help alleviate the pain,” Dr. Umobi said. “It’s also a good option for women trying to conceive, as it can help improve the chance of a healthy pregnancy.”
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