Did you know that the painful gynecological condition called endometriosis affects one in 10 American women according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America? At Westchester Women’s Medical Healthcare, masterful OB/GYN Sheila D. Pongnon, MD, and Arlie Massillon, PA, specialize in women’s health and complex conditions like endometriosis that impact the female reproductive system. Effective treatments and testing methods, including pelvic laparoscopies and ultrasounds, are available. Call either office in Mount Vernon or Spring Valley, New York, today or use the online scheduling tool.
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition that impacts the female reproductive system and typically occurs in women of childbearing age.
With endometriosis, the tissue lining the uterus begins to grow elsewhere in other areas of the body, such as on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, outside of the uterus, and around other surrounding pelvic organs.
In more rare cases, the tissue can grow in the bladder, bowel, intestine, rectum, or appendix. Endometriosis can also form in scars that are left behind from surgery on the pelvic organs.
The displaced endometrial tissue acts just as it normally would and thickens, breaks down, and bleeds with every monthly menstrual cycle. The displaced tissue gets trapped in your body and leads to scarring, pain, adhesions, and additional complications.
Some of the symptoms of endometriosis are:
With more severe cases of endometriosis, women can develop urinary and bowel disorders and fertility complications.
There are several theories regarding what causes or worsens endometriosis.
Sampson’s Theory points to retrograde menstruation. Retrograde menstruation refers to the backward flow of menstrual blood. Retrograde menstruation occurs in around 90% of women, but only 10% of women develop endometriosis.
Meyer’s Theory explains that endometriosis is likely present during fetal development. Endometriosis is activated when estrogen levels increase in puberty.
Some experts point to the immune system and inflammation from specific inflammatory cascades. This inflammation plays a part as the cause of endometriosis.
Women with a family history of endometriosis have a higher risk of developing the condition.
The right treatments for endometriosis depend on the cause and severity of the condition. The first step is a consultation along with certain appropriate screenings or exams, such as a pelvic exam, a transvaginal ultrasound, and laparoscopy.
You should take time to consider if you wish to have children in the future, since some surgical treatment options can end your fertility, so they’re only appropriate for some women.
In some cases, your provider might recommend lifestyle changes to boost your health or hormone therapy to regulate hormones that can exacerbate endometriosis. Some anti-inflammatory medications may be used to reduce pain and inflammation.
Your provider might recommend surgery, such as a procedure to sever the pelvic nerves and reduce pain, or a laparoscopy or laparotomy to remove endometriosis lesions.
Top-notch gynecological care can shine a light on your current reproductive health. For more information on endometriosis, call one of the offices or schedule online today.