Roughly 11% of American women age 15-44 are affected by endometriosis, a painful condition that happens when uterine tissue grows outside the uterus. While endometriosis can be successfully treated, many women are unaware of how the condition develops over time and whether it can improve without medical care.
At Serrano OB/Gyn in San Antonio, Texas, Christopher V. Serrano, MD, offers state-of-the-art treatment options for endometriosis, helping women relieve their symptoms with an approach that’s ideal for them. In this post, learn more about that approach and whether your symptoms just might resolve on their own.
Quick facts about endometriosis
Endometriosis is named for the endometrium, the layer of tissue that lines your uterus. The endometrial tissue responds to changes in your hormones as you move through your monthly cycle, eventually sloughing off during your period.
If you have endometriosis, this tissue grows outside your uterus, often on the outer uterine wall; your ovaires; or your fallopian tubes. Rarely, endometrial growths — called implants — form inside the chest cavity or other areas of your body.
Even though the implants are located outside your uterus, they still respond to hormonal fluctuations, causing a lot of pain at specific points in your menstrual cycle — usually during ovulation and menstruation.
In addition to very painful periods, endometriosis can cause symptoms like:
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Pain when urinating or moving your bowels
- Painful intercourse
- Constipation or diarrhea
Having your symptoms evaluated as soon as possible is the key to finding relief and preventing complications.
Endometriosis treatment: why treatment is important
Endometriosis typically causes symptoms during the child-bearing years, which is why it mainly affects women between the ages of 15 and 44. As menopause approaches and levels of estrogen and progesterone begin to decline, many women find their symptoms lessen, as well. Once a woman is in menopause, endometriosis symptoms may entirely disappear.
But even though endometriosis symptoms can resolve as you age, that doesn't mean it’s OK to ignore them during your child-bearing years. Endometriosis symptoms can be extremely painful, taking a toll on your activities and overall quality of life.
Endometrial implants can cause inflammation in the tissue surrounding the implants, in some cases forming painful scars or adhesions that can lead to additional symptoms. Implants may form in new areas, and existing implants can also grow larger, especially without early and ongoing therapy.
Finally, without treatment, endometriosis can affect your ability to conceive, so finding a therapeutic option that works is important if you intend to start or grow your family. What’s more, other medical problems, including some cancers, can cause similar symptoms, which means having regular evaluations of your symptoms is vital for your health.
Dr. Serrano has extensive experience in treating endometriosis. Before recommending a course of therapy for you, he performs a pelvic exam, takes a medical history, and uses lab tests and other evaluations to understand your condition and the unique ways endometriosis is affecting your health.
Many women respond well to hormone therapy aimed at stabilizing hormone levels and preventing or lessening endometrial pain. Implants that don’t respond to medication can be removed surgically. For some reason, having the uterus removed via hysterectomy is the best choice for relieving painful symptoms, especially for women who are done having children.
Find help for your symptoms
While there’s no cure for endometriosis, the symptoms can be effectively managed. If you’re having pain or other symptoms, don’t ignore them. We can help. To learn more, call 210-761-5308 or book an appointment online today with Dr. Serrano and the team at Serrano OB/GYN.