Endometriosis is a common gynecological problem affecting women of reproductive age. It occurs when the tissues of the uterus start growing on surfaces of other organs in the pelvis. Endometrium may grow on ovaries, fallopian tubes, outer surface of uterus, pelvic cavity lining, vagina, cervix, vulva, bladder or rectum.
Symptoms of Endometriosis
Patients may experience
- painful cramps in the lower abdomen, back or in the pelvis during menstruation,
- painful sex
- heavy menstrual bleeding,
- painful bowel movements or urination and
Causes of Endometriosis
The exact cause for the endometriosis is not known, but it is thought to be inherited through genes that run in families. A defect in the immune system, hormonal imbalance, or as a complication of other surgeries, women may develop endometriosis.
Diagnosis of Endometriosis
Dr Alexander will ask you about general health, your symptoms and perform a pelvic examination to feel for the presence of large cysts or scars.
An ultrasound scan may also be performed to look for ovarian cysts.
The ultimate diagnosis is the visually proven endometriosis that can be done by diagnostic laparoscopy or keyhole surgery.
Treatments for Endometriosis
There are several treatment options available to minimize the pain as well as control heavy bleeding.
Over the counter pain relievers may be helpful for mild pain. Non steroidal anti-inflammatory medications will be prescribed by Dr Alexander in cases of severe pain.
Hormone treatment is recommended if there is a small growth and mild pain. Hormonal preparations particularly progesterone type medications or a medication that decrease or block the production of Oestrogen can be taken in the form of pills, shots, intra-uterine device (IUD) and nasal sprays. Birth control pills help to decrease the amount of menstrual bleeding.
Surgery is an option for women having multiple growths, severe pain, or fertility problems.
- Laparoscopy : During this surgery, growths and scar tissue are removed or burnt. This is a minimally invasive technique and does not harm the healthy tissues around the growth.
- Laparotomy or major abdominal surgery : This involves a larger cut in the abdomen which allows Dr Alexander to reach and remove the endometrial growth.
- Hysterectomy : It is a surgery that involves removal of the uterus. This procedure is done when there is severe damage to the uterus and only if patient is not willing to become pregnant.