According to statistics compiled by the office on Women’s Health, more than 11% of American women between the ages of 15-44 are living with endometriosis, a disease that remains largely misunderstood. For those in and around San Antonio, Texas, the care of Christopher Serrano, MD, of Serrano OBGyn can bring answers and solutions. If you’re concerned about changes in your reproductive health or have been diagnosed with endometriosis, book an appointment online or by phone to learn more.
Endometriosis is a disorder in which the tissue that lines your uterus develops in other areas of your pelvis, where it creates painful symptoms. The best way to understand endometriosis is to think about how these tissues function.
Your uterus is lined with a layer of tissue called endometrium. As you move through your menstrual cycle, this tissue thickens to support a fertilized egg. If fertilization does not occur, the tissue begins to break down and bleed, bringing your period.
In women with endometriosis, the endometrium grows outside the uterus. It can develop on your ovaries, Fallopian tubes, vagina, cervix, the exterior of your uterus, and other tissues within your pelvis. In rare cases, it is even found in other areas of the body like the brain, skin, and lungs.
That abnormally sited tissue acts the same as the tissue within your uterus. When it thickens, bleeds, and sheds, it creates inflammation that can be incredibly painful. You can also develop adhesions, which are bands of fibrous tissue that adhere your organs together.
Moderate-to-severe pelvic pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. Some other things to look for include:
Because these symptoms are so common among other gynecologic issues, diagnosing endometriosis can be challenging, and far too many women struggle with symptoms for years before they receive a proper diagnosis.
Dr. Serrano creates a customized treatment plan based on your specific needs and treatment goals. Pain medication may play a role in the process, but it’s best to avoid long-term reliance on pharmaceuticals.
For many women, hormonal birth control can help lessen menstrual bleeding, which, in turn, eases symptoms. There are also other forms of hormone therapy that can help.
Conservative surgery is another approach. This option seeks to remove as much displaced endometrial tissue as possible without removing your uterus or ovaries. This is a good option for women who want to preserve their fertility.
For some women, hysterectomy is the best way to eliminate endometriosis and involves surgically removing your uterus. Dr. Serrano can complete many hysterectomy procedures using the da VinciⓇ robotic surgery platform, which is a form of minimally invasive surgery.
If you have questions about the process of diagnosing or treating endometriosis, call the office, or try the online scheduling tool to book a visit today.