Endometriosis is not uncommon, affecting an estimated 11% of women in the United States between the ages of 15 and 44. Endometriosis is not only a painful condition, it can also have a major effect on your ability to have children. That is why Dr. Daniel B. Channell, gynecologist at the Channell Family Medical Group in Rancho Cucamonga, California, offers several treatments for endometriosis that have been highly successful for his patients.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the tissue that typically lines your uterus grows on the outside of your uterus, sometimes encompassing your ovaries, your fallopian tubes, and the surrounding tissue.
This endometrial tissue, even though displaced, continues to act as it would if it were on the inside of your uterus, and hardens, breaks down, and bleeds with each period. Since there is no natural mechanism on the outside of your uterus to process and dispose of the tissue, as you do with each period, the tissue becomes trapped and can cause scarring, cysts, and adhesions, which are often painful.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The very first symptom most women notice is pain and cramping, especially during periods. This pain may be accompanied by abdominal and lower back pain. Other symptoms may present themselves, including:
- Painful sex
- Excessive bleeding during your period or bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Painful bowel movements or urination
- Fatigue, diarrhea or constipation, bloating, and nausea
If you experience any of these symptoms, make an appointment with Dr. Channell to see if endometriosis might be the cause.
What causes endometriosis?
The cause of endometriosis remains a mystery, but doctors have identified several factors that may put you at risk for developing this condition, such as:
- Never giving birth
- Higher levels of estrogen
- Entering menopause at a later age
- Entering puberty at a younger age
- Family history
- Uterine abnormalities
This list is not comprehensive as there are many medical conditions that may contribute to endometriosis. So it’s possible to not have any of the risk factors listed above and still develop endometriosis.
While its cause may remain a mystery, there are several effective treatments to help alleviate the pain and fertility problems endometriosis can cause.
How is endometriosis treated?
Depending on the severity of your symptoms, Dr. Channell may recommend several courses of action, including:
- Over-the-counter pain relief and anti-inflammatory medications
- Hormone therapy to control endometrial tissue buildup
- Progestin therapy to stop your periods
- Surgery to remove endometrial tissue, which might be recommended if you are trying to have children
- Hysterectomy, in severe cases
Each case is different and Dr. Channell will take into account several factors before recommending a treatment, such as your medical history, your goals for childbirth, and your level of discomfort.