Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain
You are not alone
Many women suffer from the symptoms and impact Endometriosis has on their daily life. Have a watch of the video below and hear about the experiences and thoughts other women who suffer from endometriosis have shared.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition of the pelvis that causes Pelvic pain and Infertility through inflammation, scarring and ovarian cysts. It results when endometrial (lining of the uterus/ womb) like cells deposit and grow on the outer surface of the uterus, ovaries, tubes and on the lining of the pelvis.
It is present in 1:10 women and is more common in women who have family members that are also affected.
What can Endometriosis Cause?
Endometriosis has been known to cause a wide variety of symptoms for women. The most common symptoms experienced by women include:
- Persistent Pelvic pain (either with a menstrual cycle or without)
- Infertility (difficulty falling pregnant)
Some other symptoms that can be related to endometriosis include:
- Pain when passing urine
- Pain when having sex
- Pain when opening your bowels
- Increased urinary frequency
- Heavy or irregular bleeding
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How is it Diagnosed?
The history of your symptoms, examination and ultrasound are all helpful in assessing the likelihood of having endometriosis however a Laparoscopy with a biopsy is the only way to formally make to diagnosis and be 100% sure.
A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure where cameras are placed into the pelvis through small cuts in the skin on your abdomen (tummy). The cameras are then used to have a close look at the organs of the pelvis such as the ovaries, ligaments, uterus and tubes. They can also have a good look at the covering or lining of the pelvis and remove any of the endometriosis that is present. The samples are then sent to the laboratory where the pathologist can test them and tell you if it is endometriosis.
Diagnosis with a Laparoscopy is not essential. During the discussion with your Doctor you will talk about the risks and benefits of medical (with medicines) and/or Surgical management for your symptoms. The decision to go ahead with an operation will be based on your individual risks, the degree of your symptoms and your intentions to have children soon, later or not at all.
Treatment for endometriosis can be recommended from three categories:
3- Alternative or complimentary therapies such as Physiotherapy, Psychology, Alternate medications, etc.
Most treatments for endometriosis will not eradicate pain and all options have positive and negatives associated with their use. It is reasonable to expect treatments to improve your symptoms by 50-70% and the aim of treatment is to improve your quality of living with pain to its best possible point. Often the aim of treatment is not just pain related but is also aimed at getting you pregnant. In these circumstances your doctor will discuss their best recommended combinations of treatment to achieve your goal of having a baby.
Endometriosis often recurs over time and in severe disease this can happen for up to 70% of women. After the initial treatment of removing endometriosis it is likely that you will be recommended to continue on long term treatment to avoid the endometriosis returning.
If you are unfortunate enough to be one of the women who go on to suffer from pelvic pain associated with endometriosis (or any other condition) then ongoing management is a multidisciplinary approach meaning that numerous different professions should be involved in your care. Usually this would include:
- Gynaecology Endometriosis specialist
- General practitioner
- Other complimentary or alternative health professionals
Depending on where you live will determine which of the above services are available.
I would strongly recommend if you suffer from chronic pelvic pain to read the brochure below "Pelvic Pain 2017"
At Warrnambool Obstetrics and Gynaecology our staff have a special interest in managing women with Endometriosis and Pelvic Pain. We have a holistic approach to treatment with an aim to have you living the best and most comfortable life you can. We understand that like any chronic disease Endometriosis can be tough at times and we are here to assist you through this journey.
We have Fertility experience available for those women looking to get pregnant and can coordinate treatment of endometriosis with fertility treatment options to give you your best chance of a successful pregnancy.
For an appointment see your GP and get a referral.
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