manage over time. Some of the typical symptoms of the disease are fatigue, bloating, nausea, pain during sex, painful bowel movements, and bleeding between periods. It’s important to note that the severity of these symptoms is not necessarily related to how advanced the disease is. This can only be determined by your doctor.
How Endometriosis Is Diagnosed
Since there are other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, your doctor will need to use several tests to determine if you have endometriosis and the extent of the disease. Your diagnosis will typically start with a pelvic exam.
If your doctor suspects that you have endometriosis, you may need to undergo imaging tests like ultrasounds and magnetic resonance imaging tests (MRIs). These tests can also help to determine how advanced the disease is but occasionally, doctors use a procedure known as a laparoscopy.
In a laparoscopy, a surgeon uses specialized tools to enter the abdomen. Using a laparoscope, the surgeon will examine the area for endometrial tissue. This procedure will also allow your doctor to determine the size and location of the unwanted tissue in the body.
The Treatment Options For Endometriosis
Dealing with endometriosis often calls for a combination of managing the symptoms while addressing the root cause of the disease. Your doctor is likely to recommend different painkillers for reducing pain and inflammation as well as hormone therapy. With hormone therapy, you can choose from hormonal contraceptives, progestin therapy, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists, as well as aromatase inhibitors.
There are also surgical options that would seek to directly treat endometriosis. In laparoscopic procedures, a surgeon would remove the invasive endometrial tissue.
In cases where the disease is advanced, some doctors may recommend a complete hysterectomy, which would remove the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries. It’s always best to discuss the pros and cons of each treatment option with your doctor.
Even if you haven’t been diagnosed with endometriosis, it’s a good idea to know what it’s about and how to handle it. As Whoopi said in her speech, “A lot of women have never heard of endometriosis”, which is unfortunate given how often the disease affects African Americans. If you’re concerned about the symptoms you’ve been experiencing, it’s imperative to see your doctor quickly.