Endometriosis is one of the most common gynecological issues, affecting one of every 10 women. It may go undiscovered for years because you may mistake the abdominal pain for cramps.
We take endometriosis very seriously at the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas. Board-certified OB/GYN Sharon Breit, MD, and our medical team work closely with patients to test for, diagnose, and find solutions for endometriosis.
We’re at the forefront of recognizing and treating this condition, which has plagued many women for years.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow where it shouldn’t. This tissue, called the endometrium, can spread to your ovaries or fallopian tubes, and on the outside of your uterus, intestines, or bladder, as well as anywhere else in your abdominal cavity.
When your period starts, your uterine lining sheds. But when the endometrium grows where it shouldn’t, it remains trapped in your body, resulting in bleeding, inflammation, and scarring inside your pelvic cavity.
Endometriosis may cause significantly more pain than a normal menstrual cycle, but even if you don’t have pain, endometriosis can cause problems.
Symptoms of endometriosis
The main symptom of endometriosis is pelvic discomfort. Because pelvic discomfort can be the result of many conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome and other inflammatory disorders, endometriosis symptoms are frequently misdiagnosed.
Endometriosis tends to cause pain that worsens over time and fluctuates with your menstrual cycle. Additionally, endometriosis often causes abnormally heavy periods.
Who gets endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects women of childbearing age across all backgrounds. These factors raise the likelihood of developing endometriosis:
- A family history of the condition
- Never having been pregnant
- Retrograde menstruation (menstrual bleeding runs backward into the fallopian tubes)
Having risk factors for endometriosis doesn’t mean that you’ll develop it. In some cases no cause is found.
Fertility and endometriosis
Endometriosis may make it more difficult to get pregnant. Scar tissue can develop in your fallopian tubes or other areas and interfere with your ability to conceive. At the Center for Women’s Health, we have treatments to increase your chances of getting pregnant.
We collaborate with you to address your symptoms and recommend solutions. Medical treatment mainly involves modifying the hormones that drive endometrial growth. These medications can be used alone or in conjunction with surgery to prevent recurrence.
Among the options are:
The pill is frequently the first treatment we recommend. While managing the pain, the pill can suppress the menstruation and prevent mild to moderate endometriosis from worsening. The combined oral contraceptive can be taken in a way to stop your period completely.
If oral contraceptives do not work or have negative effects, progestin is often a second-line medication. Progestin also decreases estrogen and endometrial formation.
Gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonists
These hormones block the production of estrogen and progestin and are extremely effective at treating endometriosis. We administer them by injection.
We offer endometrial ablation, which is effective at alleviating symptoms. This in-office procedure involves removing the uterine lining.
After a meeting with you to discuss your symptoms and review your medical history, Dr. Breit recommends the most appropriate treatment.
Rest assured that endometriosis is treatable, and most women experience significant relief with treatment. Endometriosis requires long-term management, but with the right treatment, you can get relief.
If you’re experiencing pelvic pain or other endometriosis symptoms, schedule a visit to discuss treatments that can help. Contact our Wichita, Kansas, office to schedule a visit with Dr. Breit.
Telehealth appointments are available. Please call our clinic to determine if your visit is eligible for a telemedicine appointment.