When a woman has endometriosis, a type of tissue that lines the uterus (endometrium) is also growing outside the uterus. This does not always cause symptoms. And it usually is not dangerous. But it can cause pain and other problems.
The clumps of tissue that grow outside the uterus are called implants. They usually grow on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes, the outer wall of the uterus, the intestines, or other organs in the abdomen. In rare cases, they spread to areas beyond the belly.
Some symptoms include:
- Pain in the lower abdomen, rectum, vagina, or lower back. Pain can occur only before and during periods or all the time. Some women have more pain during sex, when they have a bowel movement, or during ovulation.
- Abnormal bleeding. Some women have heavy periods, spotting or bleeding between periods, bleeding after sex, or blood in their urine or stool.
- Trouble getting pregnant
Endometriosis symptoms vary from woman to woman. Some do not know that they have it until they see a doctor. Some experience mild cramping that they think is normal. Other women experience pain and bleeding so extreme that daily activities are inhibited.
Your gynecologist may be able to feel abnormalities around your pelvis during a routine pelvic exam.
Ultrasound uses radio waves to create images of your organs. Your gynecologist can use this test to look for endometrial tissue in other places inside the abdomen.
You will be placed under anesthesia (put to sleep) for a laparoscopy. Your gynecologist will make a few small incisions in your abdomen, insert a special camera, and look for endometrial tissue in the pelvis during this procedure.
Your physician may prescribe pain medicines to help you manage pelvic discomfort.
Hormone treatments, such as birth control pills or progesterone pills, can stop your periods and help manage the symptoms of endometriosis.
Surgery may help if you are trying to become pregnant. Your physician will remove as much as the endometrial tissue as possible without harming your uterus, ovaries, or fallopian tubes. This procedure helps eggs release from your ovary, become fertilized, and implant in your uterus.
If you’ve made the decision not to carry children, a hysterectomy will remove your uterus, ovaries, and cervix. This may help with symptoms, as well as prevent further spread of endometriosis. A total hysterectomy is only considered for women with severe, painful endometriosis.
Why Choose UHealth?
Care designed with women in mind. Our obstetrics and gynecology experts provide research-backed care that is tailored specifically for you. We help make care more convenient — offering advanced in-office procedures, the latest diagnostic tests for fast results, and access to comprehensive women’s health services for women of all ages — all in one location. Our highly-trained physicians and staff are sensitive to the needs of every woman, so you can feel comfortable and confident in your care and treatment.
Leaders in advanced robotic surgery. We have some of the world’s most experienced robotic surgeons for gynecologic laparoscopy and robotic-assisted surgery. In fact, doctors come from all over the world to learn from our expertise. The University of Miami Health System was the first academic medical center to get the da Vinci Xi robotic surgery system and complete more than 5,000 robotic surgeries — procedures that offer less pain, lower risks of infection, and a quicker recovery.
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