A Womans Guide to Endometriosis Awareness Month
A Woman’s Guide to Endometriosis Awareness Month
Endometriosis (Endo) is a complex, often underdiagnosed gynecological (GYN) condition. In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month, we want to shine the spotlight on this condition to help women everywhere recognize the symptoms and get the treatment they deserve – without feeling alone.
ON THIS PAGE:
- History of Endometriosis Awareness Month
- What is Endometriosis?
- Stages of Endometriosis
- What Does Endometriosis Feel Like?
- How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
- Treatment Options for Endometriosis
- Specialists Who Understand Endometriosis
History of Endometriosis Awareness Month
The Endometriosis Association founded Endometriosis Awareness Month back in 1993. Today this health observance is observed worldwide through education, fundraisers and marches. The goal is to educate women on this silent illness while encouraging them to be proactive in their health – talking with their doctor about their symptoms and being vocal when it comes to their health. Fundraises across the globe raise money for endometriosis research to better understand this painful disease.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that affects an estimated 1 in 10 women of childbearing age, and yet so many women are still in the dark about it. Endo occurs when tissue that lines the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside of the uterus, most commonly on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and pelvic lining. This misplaced tissue continues to act as it would inside the uterus – thickening, breaking down, and bleeding with each menstrual cycle.
However, because this displaced tissue has no way to exit the body, it can cause inflammation, pain, and scarring. Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility and can also cause pain during sex, irregular periods, and pain with bowel movements or urination.
Stages of Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a spectrum condition, which means that there is a wide range of symptoms and severity levels. Some women experience mild cramping and spotting between periods, while others experience debilitating pain and infertility.
Endo is classified into four stages — minimal, mild, moderate or severe — depending on the location, depth and spread of the condition. However, these stages do not always align with a patient’s symptoms. For example, some women with stage 4 endometriosis may have little to no symptoms, while women with stage 1 may be in debilitating pain.
What Does Endometriosis Feel Like?
While some women may experience no symptoms at all, one of the hallmark symptoms of endometriosis is pelvic pain. This pain may occur during menstruation, bowel movements, sexual intercourse, or chronically.
Common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pain with period
- Pain with bowel movements
- Pain with sexual intercourse
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic pain
- Intestinal pain
- Painful urination
- Lower back pain
- Leg and hip pain
- Bowel or bladder symptoms, especially before or during periods
- Gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea
- Abnormal bleeding or heavy menstrual flow during or between periods
- Chronic fatigue
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Pain associated with endometriosis can range in severity and location, making it indicative of a wide variety of conditions. Because of this, endometriosis pain is often dismissed or misdiagnosed by general physicians.
However, if you’re in pain, you should seek an evaluation by a GYN specialist – like the experts at The Center for Innovative GYN Care (CIGC). Our surgical specialists are experts in diagnosing and treating endometriosis.
The proper method to diagnose endo is through a laparoscopic procedure. This is because endometriosis can only be definitively confirmed by direct visualization of the lesions – not through pelvic exams, ultrasounds or MRIs alone.
During the diagnostic laparoscopy, your CIGC physician will perform excision of any suspected endometriosis and send it for testing. They will also perform a thorough inspection of the uterus, ovaries, tubes, and bladder for evaluation and treatment of other painful conditions that are commonly present with endometriosis.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis
Due to medical innovation, there are numerous ways to treat and manage endometriosis. However, surgical intervention is usually the most effective as it helps ensure the complete removal of endo tissue.
Why is it essential that a specialist removes my endometriosis?
While endometriosis is a relatively common condition, some physicians are not skilled in its diagnosis and treatment.
At CIGC, we specialize in a variety of minimally invasive procedures to treat endo while maintaining your lifestyle and fertility goals. Our advanced laparoscopic surgeons are experts at treating even the most severe endometriosis including endometriosis of the bowel and urinary system.
Specialists Who Understand Endometriosis
Choosing the right specialist for your endometriosis care is essential for ensuring optimal results. At CIGC, we know that endo can continue to cause pain and impact fertility if removed incorrectly or incompletely.
Our specialists understand that while endometriosis can cause pain, there is an emotional side of the condition as well – which is equally deserving of care and attention.
Women with endometriosis go through enough. That’s why we put our patients first. CIGC surgeons have a higher level of training and experience to deal with all the complexities of endometriosis. Additionally, we accept most major insurance plans, ensuring our patients can focus less on the financial impact of care and more on what matters – getting better.
If you think you may have endometriosis, the GYN specialists at The Center for Innovative GYN Care can help you weigh your surgical and nonsurgical options. Talk to a patient advocate today about meeting with one of our experts.
Request A Consultation