This endometrial tissue can be found as implants on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus and also on tissue covering the bladder and rectum.
How can you know that you have endometriosis?
Usually it is diagnosed either by the symptoms or by finding a cyst or implant through diagnostic imaging.
There are many different symptoms, but the most common are pelvic pain and/or severe period cramps. You can have pain before, during or after your period. It can even be at regular times in your cycle or at any time during the month. Sometimes it can even be referred to as “chronic” pelvic pain. Depending on where the endometrial implants are and how the pelvic organs are affected the pain will have different characteristics. For example, some women with endometriosis experience pain with exercise, intercourse, and/or after a pelvic exam. It is also related to this condition but not so common, that some women experience painful or frequent urination, pain when they pass stools, diarrhea or constipation.
You need to know that a lot of endometriosis can go with very little pain, while for other women a small amount of endometriosis can cause them severe pain.
How will my doctor diagnose if I have endometriosis?
Nowadays there is no x–ray, blood test, ultrasound, or MRI that can diagnose endometriosis and be totally sure. The only way to diagnose endometriosis with surety is to have a minimal invasive procedure called `laparoscopy`. A laparoscopy can allow your doctor to visualize your pelvic organs inside your belly with camera to identify the implants. Before the procedure, some tests may be ordered, like blood tests, vaginal cultures to make sure there is no infection, plus an ultrasound. Occasionally an MRI is needed.
Now that I know I have it, is there a radical cure?
Unfortunately, there is no definite cure for endometriosis. But meanwhile they find one, there is treatment you can receive to keep the endometriosis from getting worse and harming your future fertility.
What types of treatment I can receive?
Observation: After being evaluated and before deciding to start a hormonal treatment, your gynecologist and you may decide to start with a well-planned pain reliever medication and keep track of your symptoms. This is usually the first step for less severe cases or young girls.
Hormonal treatment: such as contraceptive pills containing estrogen and progesterone either taken as usual or continuously (to stop periods) can relieve symptoms in a lot of patients. Another hormonal pill is progesterone alone and can be taken continuously also, and is also recommended in endometriosis patients.
Another treatment (GnRH agonist) can be used as another type of treatment or as a way of diagnosis. This medicine temporarily stops your period by shutting down the hormones from your ovaries for a while. When they stop working, the endometrial implants also do and the pain goes away.
Surgery: This is sometimes the most long-term effective treatment, because visible endometriosis can be destroyed during the laparoscopy. Most women find relief from symptoms. Some others say that their pain is better, but not completely gone. Unfortunately, as we already said, it’s not a definite cure, and after the procedure, some women experience pain again after some time.
Lifestyle changes: It is a challenge dealing with chronic pain, to cope with it exercising can help, either for pelvic pain or menstrual cramps. It’s also important to have a balanced diet and help your body and mind manage pain by getting enough rest. Yoga or meditation is a relaxation technique that some women find helpful but that’s on individual basis.
Endometriosis is a common gynecological condition. You’re not alone if you suffer from this disorder. Often women have questions about the effect of endometriosis on their fertility, emotional health and relationships. Knowing where to go for advice and support is important, and reading about the personal stories of women who have endometriosis is helpful too, particularly the importance of not giving up hope.
Dr. Amaya Carreras, one of the best gynecologists in Dubai, is specialized in the diagnosis and treatment of various gynecological disorders and conditions. At German Medical Center, the best obstetrics and gynecology clinic in Dubai, Dr. Carreras provides personalized and compassionate treatment for endometriosis.