Endometriosis is a disorder in which the lining that is normally inside the uterus grows on the outside of the uterus. The excess tissue thickens, tears down, and bleeds just like it normally would during a period.

How common is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common condition effecting 10 to 15 percent of women.

What is the cause of endometriosis?

Research has not proven a definite cause of endometriosis. Some studies show relationships between endometriosis and women with abnormal immune systems. Other causes might be, loss of blood into the abdomen through open fallopian tubes, movement of endometrial cells into the pelvis through lymphatic systems, or the ability of certain cells to change and become endometrial cells. Further, studies show links in heredity and severity may increase due to a combination of these factors.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

The symptoms vary from one woman to the next. The problem lies in that the tissue is forming and breaking down on the outside of the uterus causing internal bleeding, swelling, and excessive pain and discomfort. The main complaints are painful menstrual periods, pain during intercourse, and chronic or long-lasting pelvic pain. Other symptoms include abnormal bleeding, severe cramping, diarrhea, painful bowel movements during menstruation, and unfortunately, infertility.

What are pelvic adhesions? Why do people have adhesions with endometriosis?

Adhesion is another word for scarring. Some women experience scarring due to the endometriotic spots and the pooling of blood in those areas. Since it is hard for blood to exit specific places in the abdomen, the result is often irritation, inflammation, and scarring.

What is a Chocolate Cyst?

A chocolate cyst gets its name from the dark brown color associated with a cyst at the site of an ovary. These usually begin as surface lesions before the process becomes internalized and damage occurs within the ovary.

Does endometriosis cause infertility?

Yes. Unfortunately, endometriosis has been identified as a major cause of infertility in women. The associated scarring impacts the anatomy of the reproductive organs, impairing fertility. About 35% of women with endometriosis will have fertility issues. Some women with endometriosis conceive without trouble. However, with appropriate treatment, pregnancy can be achieved for many women.

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

The best and most accurate way to diagnosis endometriosis is by viewing the reproductive organs laparoscopically. During this procedure, Dr. Heard will make a small incision through the belly button and use a thin, lighted telescope to view inside the lower abdomen. Ultrasounds, MRIs, CT Scans, and other diagnostic tests are not reliable for conclusive diagnosis.

If I have endometriosis, how will it be treated?

Because endometriosis tends to get worse over time, the best treatments are usually surgery and medications to help delay or slow the process.

Surgical solutions include laparoscopic surgery to remove lesions, tissue, and blockages from the body. Hysterectomy is also an option but won’t completely eradicate symptoms. Patients with infertility sometimes find success through In Vitro Fertilization.

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