What is Endometriosis?

According to the National Institutes of Health and the U.S. National Library of Medicine, endometriosis is defined as:

… a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant (infertility).

It one of the most common gynecological diseases and one of the top causes in female infertility according to a pamphlet published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, National Institutes of Health, and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

Symptoms include, but are not limited to:

  • heavy periods
  • painful cramps
  • pain during or after intercourse
  • chronic pelvic pain
  • infertility

Endometriosis is diagnosed through a combination of your medical history, physical exam, pelvic exam, and testing. The only way to verify whether or not you have the disease is through laparoscopic surgery. Your doctor inflates your stomach with non-harmful gas, makes small incisions in your abdomen, and uses an instrument called a laparoscope to look inside your body for the disease. A biopsy can confirm the diagnosis.

The best treatment for endometriosis seems to be pregnancy and eventually menopause. Until then, there are a variety of over-the-counter medications your doctor can recommend to help manage the pain. There are also hormone therapies, birth control included, that can help manage the disease. Additionally, there are surgical options available for more advanced cases.


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