Endometriosis is a rather common gynecological disorder. It is characterized by the growth of menstrual, also known as endometrial, tissue outside the patient’s uterus. Sadly, endometriosis is a painful condition that afflicts many teenage and adult women during their lifetime. As a matter of fact, endometriosis affects one in ten women of reproductive age.
Unfortunately, not properly treating endometriosis can be very painful and may prevent you from being able to ever get pregnant. However, there are measures you can take in order to prevent these things from happening. This guide will walk you through these measures. At the same time, it will provide general information about the condition and other relevant facts.
What Is Endometriosis?
As was previously stated, endometriosis is characterized by an abnormal growth menstrual tissue outside of a woman’s uterus. This endometrial tissue is normally found lining inner portion of you uterus, called the endometrium. Endometriosis occurs whenever that same tissue grows outside of the uterus. The abnormal growth can take place on the outside of the uterus as well as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or along the pelvic surfaces.
Quite regrettably, the prevalence of endometriosis in infertile women is between 30 and 50 percent. As a matter of fact, the condition itself can quite commonly be the cause of infertility in women all over the world. Apart from potentially causing infertility, endometriosis is responsible for causing cysts, heavy periods, generalized pelvic pain, severe cramps, and painful sex.
Even though the root cause of endometriosis is unknown, researchers have come up with a number of theories that attempt to explain it. In any way, it’s clear that it has something to do with the traveling of endometrial cells outside of the uterus and throughout the body. Among the most notable symptoms of endometriosis are the following: pain during intercourse, abdominal cramps, pelvic pain and painful urination or bowel movements.
Types of Endometriosis
#1. Peritoneal Endometriosis
This type of endometriosis happens when parts of the lining of the uterus move throughout the body, settling in different locations. The biggest problem with this is that the symptoms worsen before a woman’s menstrual cycle, causing inflammation and scarring around the areas where the endometrial cells were deposited.
Although this may be relatively innocuous at first, the situation can quickly take a turn for the worse after enough tissue has encapsulated and accumulated in one area. Even though most of the smaller deposits can be removed by laser, the larger areas may require resection of the peritoneum with a davinci robotic surgery. This usually results in the most and longest reduction of painful symptoms.
#2. Rectovaginal Septum Endometriosis
Affecting the ligaments that are between the uterus, vagina and rectum, this type of endometriosis is characterized by forming abnormal adhesions and nodules. Even though it is normally quite painful, this endometriosis condition does not affect a women’s fertility to a significant degree. However, it should nonetheless be treated as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the only types of treatment that is effective for removing or reducing it are by a injection type of medication that is a GnRH agonist called Lupron, or by daVinci robotic laparoscopic surgery.
#3. Ovary Endometriosis
As its name states, endometriosis of the ovary happens whenever the endometrial tissue deposits on the surface of or deep into the ovary, eventually creating a cyst called an endometrioma. These endometrioma cysts manifest themselves in the form pain and pressure and even sometimes no symptoms at all. Endometriomas, when not caught early, frequently take over the ovary to the point that the ovary is not able to be saved and it has to be removed. However, with early detection and the daVinci robotic laparoscopy system most endometriomas and endometriosis can be removed from the ovary and the ovary can continue to function for hormones or future pregnancies.
This form of endometriosis is characterized by glandular tissue growth on the muscle layer of the uterus. It usually affects women over 30 that have given birth multiple times.
How Is Endometriosis Treated?
The most common treatments for endometriosis usually include pain medication, hormone therapy (to stop or slow the growth of the tissue) and, eventually, surgery to remove the unwanted tissue. Even though there are others, laparoscopy is the most common procedure that is used to perform an endometriosis surgery. Treatment may vary slightly for women who desire to be pregnant. It may also include gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) to stop ovulation and suppress any microscopic endometriosis that wasn’t visible during endometriosis surgery.
Risks of Endometriosis Surgery?
Even though complications of endometriosis surgery are rare, they can happen. The normal surgical risks include:
- Pelvic infection.
- Scar tissue formation after surgery.
- Damage to the bowel, bladder or ureters.
Handling Recovery Pain from Endometriosis Surgery
Even though it’s relatively straight forward to treat, endometriosis can be terribly painful before surgery but usually less painful after surgery. In addition, recovery after endometriosis surgery usually is fairly quick. However, if you do have more pain after surgery than you anticipated there are measures you can take to alleviate the pain. Up next is a list of everything you need to know before going into the surgery:
- Depending on the type of procedure, you may need a catheter during the surgery and this will be placed after you are asleep.
- Immediately after the procedure, you will notice you have three or four small incisions in your abdomen. Pain medication will most likely be prescribed to you to alleviate the pain. Do not be alarmed as the incisions will heal very quickly.
- Regardless of the procedure, you could be bloated immediately after from the air used during surgery to allow the camera to visualize your insides. It will last a few days. You can walk multiple times a day in order to help your body go back to normal and reabsorb any extra air.
- In addition to keeping the incisions dry, you need to clean them gently with your finger and soap and water at least once a day. Over several weeks the stitches or surgical glue will dissolve.
- The first period after surgery may cause irritation of the already swollen tissues. This can be painful. Applying heat may relieve some of that pain. However, in the case that the pain becomes too much, you may ask your doctor to prescribe anti-inflammatories or use the medications your were prescribed after the surgery.
Putting It All Together
Without a doubt, endometriosis is a condition that should be treated promptly. Non surgical treatments should be attempted early and discussed with you by your doctor. If those are not working or your symptoms are too severe then endometriosis surgery can work extremely well provided your doctor is proficient and experienced at treating endometriosis. The best results from an endometriosis surgery come from one that is the least invasive and utilize a daVinci robotic laparoscopic system in most cases.
Have you had endometriosis surgery? If yes, you should definitely share your insights with other women who are going through the same experience.