Endometriosis is a relatively common disease which occurs when uterine tissue, including endometrial glands and stroma, grow outside of the uterus. About 1 in 10 women in the U.S. have endometriosis, although the disease is often under-diagnosed and may be even more common. Here are eight facts about endometriosis you may not be aware of:
Endometriosis is typically diagnosed through a pelvic exam, in which your gynecologist will manually palpate areas of your pelvis, or through a transvaginal ultrasound. However, for some patients, it can take many years to get a diagnosis. This is because the symptoms of endometriosis have a wide range in both symptom type and severity.
A widely-held misconception about endometriosis is that pregnancy cures the disease. While this is incorrect, it is true that pregnancy can temporarily relieve and suppress endometriosis. Unfortunately, symptoms will usually recur after the patient has given birth.
The Mayo Clinic has found that endometriosis is linked to high levels of estrogen. For some patients, a condition called estrogen dominance can be the cause for their endometriosis.
Endometriosis has been found to run in families. If your mother or another close family member has endometriosis and you’re experiencing the symptoms of the disease, you should schedule an appointment with a gynecologist to see whether you have endometriosis as well.
While endometriosis doesn’t cause infertility in all patients, it can be more difficult to become pregnant with the disease. Around 30-50% of patients with endometriosis experience difficulty becoming pregnant. This is often because of distorted pelvic anatomy, scarring in the fallopian tubes, inflammation, or hormonal changes associated with endometriosis.
Endometriosis causes lesions, or nodules, of uterine tissue which grows outside of the uterus. Typically, these lesions are found in the pelvic region. However, they can be found throughout the abdomen and, in extreme cases, endometriosis lesions have been found as far as the lungs or the brain. This occurrence is very rare, however.
Pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis, though the experience and intensity varies among patients. Some feel constant pain, while others only have pain during or near their period. Pain during intercourse is also possible.
Other common endometriosis symptoms include bloating or excessive menstrual bleeding.
Most women present with endometriosis in their 20s and 30s and symptoms lessen as women age.
Treatment for endometriosis can include birth control pills or other hormonal therapy as well as excision of lesions. A qualified gynecologist can help you manage or relieve your endometriosis symptoms. To schedule an appointment at Maternal Fetal Medicine Associates, call (212) 235-1335 or request an appointment online.
Maternal Fetal Medicine blogs are intended for educational purposes only and do not replace certified professional care. Medical conditions vary and change frequently. Please ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding your condition to receive a proper diagnosis or risk analysis. Thank you!