Endometriosis Specialist in Reston, VA
It is estimated that 1 in 10 women in the United States are affected by endometriosis. The providers at All About Women OB/GYN constantly strive to alleviate painful side effects and improve the quality of life in every patient we treat. Our OBGYNs are experienced in diagnosing and treating endometriosis, and offer several in-office treatment options, including pelvic laparoscopic procedures, endometrial ablations, and more. Our approach helps women achieve a life that is free from painful endometriosis symptoms.
What Is Endometriosis?
Typically, the inner lining of the uterus is shed with each menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is a condition that occurs in women when tissues similar to those of the inner uterine lining start to grow outside of the uterus, behind the uterus, on the bowels, or on the bladder. This results in the appearance of abnormal tissue growth throughout the pelvis, which causes intense pressure and pain in this region of the body. Endometriosis is most commonly diagnosed among women in their 30s and 40s, but the onset of the condition typically starts during standard reproductive years.
Your OB/GYN can help diagnose your symptoms and determine the best treatment for you.
Causes & Risk Factors of Endometriosis
There are multiple theories based around the root causes of endometriosis, though there is no known cause at this point in time. It is suggested by scientific evidence that endometriosis may be influenced by one or more of the following factors:
- Retrograde menstrual flow
- A weakened immune system
- Hormone imbalances
- Prior surgery of the abdomen or pelvis
Common Symptoms of Endometriosis
The most common symptoms that women experience if they have endometriosis include pain, spotting in between periods, heavy periods, infertility, and digestive problems. Not all women experience each and every one of these symptoms, though a large majority of patients report experiences with pain in some of the following situations:
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Chronic pelvic pain in the lower abdomen or intestines
- Pain during or after sex
- Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods
Pain from endometriosis is caused by the abnormal tissues that develop throughout the pelvis. These tissue growths bleed in the same way as the uterus does during a menstrual cycle period, which often leads to extremely painful cramps that tend to worsen over time. Other significant problems can result from a case of endometriosis, such as the fallopian tubes becoming blocked, inflammation occurring, and scar tissue building up around the uterus, intestines, or bladder.
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
In addition to discussing a patient’s most various symptoms, your OB/GYN may suggest physical exams, imaging tests, or even diagnostic procedures in order to learn more about the patient’s current condition and rule out any similar reproductive issues. During a pelvic exam, your OB/GYN may be able to feel for large cysts or scars behind your uterus. An ultrasound or MRI may also be done by our team to check for ovarian cysts.
Surgery is the only way to confirm whether or not a woman has endometriosis. Your OB/GYN may perform a laparoscopic procedure to obtain a sample of the endometriosis growths for further review.
How Endometriosis Is Managed and Treated
Treatment for endometriosis will depend on the severity of the specific case. Sadly, there is no cure for endometriosis, and so it is critical that patients be open in speaking with your OB/GYN about their situation, what has and has not worked well for them, and if they are ready to explore additional treatment options. Because some treatments can lead to problems with a woman’s fertility, one important component to consider is if you wish to have children in the future.
- If you are not trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control is usually the first step to help reduce pain and bleeding caused by endometriosis.
- Hormone therapy treatments may also be used in some cases to balance and regulate the female sex hormones that can worsen endometriosis.
- If you are trying to get pregnant, there are several medications that may help to alleviate symptoms of endometriosis. When birth control is not an option, pain relievers may also be recommended to control any discomfort. Many medications commonly prescribed to women with endometriosis are anti-inflammatories and will focus on reducing inflammation and pain.
- Surgery is typically recommended only when symptoms are very severe, other treatments have not worked, or if the patient is experiencing problems with infertility. Endometrial ablation is frequently used to thin out the abnormal tissue growths around the uterus or other pelvic organs.
Schedule Your Appointment at All About Women OB/GYN
If you are experiencing severe pelvic pain related to your period, are having problems with infertility, or suffer from unusually heavy periods, please contact All About Women OB/GYN Today!