What is Endometriosis and what can you do about it?
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that usually lines your uterus (womb), grows outside of your uterus where it should not be growing. This includes:
- Fallopian tubes
- Tissues and ligaments that supports or surrounds your uterus
Endometriosis mostly affects people in their reproductive years but can affect any age. It’s a long-term condition, but there are treatments that can help reduce it symptoms.
The symptoms of endometriosis vary for each individual. Some may not even be aware that they have it until investigations are undertaken for other issues. Some experience significant symptoms.
- Pain in your lower abdomen or back (depending on where the endometriosis is building up) this is usually worse during or before your periods
- Significant, painful periods and cramps
- Heavy periods or bleeding between periods
- Pain in your pelvis when opening bowel
- Pain during or after sexual activity
- Feeling sick during your period
- Constipation, diarrhoea, or blood in your urine during your period
- Difficulty getting pregnant or infertility
How to diagnose Endometriosis
If you have these symptoms and think it may be Endometriosis, it is worth seeing your GP or making an appointment with a Gynaecologist. They can access you and organise the relevant tests.
It can be useful to keep a diary of your pain and other symptoms to give the specialist an idea of your symptom patterns.
A Gynaecologist would need to do a Laparoscopy to diagnose Endometriosis if they suspect this is the cause of your symptoms.
At this point in time, there is no cure for Endometriosis, however there are treatment options that can help improve the condition and relieve some of the symptoms. These include:
- Over the counter painkillers including Paracetamol and Ibuprofen
- Hormone treatment including the combined pill, the contraceptive patch, or a intrauterine system (IUS)
- Surgery to remove patches of endometriosis tissue – this is usually done by keyhole surgery
- If the endometriosis is more severe and other treatment options do not help, it may be necessary to do an operation such as surgery to remove the womb (hysterectomy)
- Following a diagnosis, you would start with the least invasive treatment option and see if that improves things and review things with your doctor.
Endometriosis and fertility
There are complications of Endometriosis, such as difficulty in conceiving or even infertility. Surgery to remove endometriosis tissue can often help to increase the chances of conceiving. However, there’s never a guarantee that it will help. There are risks with the surgery (as with all surgery) these include infection, bleeding, injury to internal organs etc. These would all be discussed thoroughly with your Gynaecology surgeon prior to making a decision on whether you wish to go ahead.
It can be hard to live with Endometriosis. It is a physical condition, but it can have an emotional impact on you too. There is support for both. There are treatments to help you improve and manage the symptoms of Endometriosis and there is support to help you live with the condition.
Visit your GP or a specialist Gynaecologist for a diagnosis and to discuss treatment options. For emotional support there is Endometriosis UK | the leading UK charity that supports women living with endometriosis (endometriosis-uk.org).
If you have any concerns on this topic and would like advice or a consultation in Cheltenham or Gloucester with our specialist Gynaecologist Consultant Mr Rahmanou, please contact us on 07307 641071 or at firstname.lastname@example.org