It’s estimated that 11% or more of women between the ages of 15 and 44 have endometriosis, a painful condition involving the reproductive system and potentially the entire pelvic region. However, that number may be low since a staggering number of women never even get a correct diagnosis.
Our team of reproductive specialists at University Reproductive Associates, located in Hasbrouck Heights, Hoboken, and Wayne, New Jersey, are skilled at recognizing this condition and finding treatment plans to help our patients manage symptoms and pain associated with endometriosis.
What is endometriosis?
When you’re at the fertile time in your menstrual cycle, endometrial tissue builds up inside your uterus, and if you get pregnant, it stays there until you give birth. If you don’t get pregnant, it exits your body during your period.
If you have endometriosis, endometrial cells migrate outside the uterus. When your period comes, the tissue can’t get out of your body so it swells and bleeds. The tissue can be on the outside of the uterine wall, attached to your ovaries or bladder, or stuck to the connective tissues inside your pelvis.
That can cause cramping, bloating, and pain every month. Over time, the endometrial tissue growths can become so large they cause scarring and can even cause your pelvic organs to adhere to each other or the lining of the pelvic cavity.
Symptoms of endometriosis
In addition to the cramping that feels like period cramps, endometriosis can also cause pain when you ovulate, urinate, defecate, or have sex. Some women also have intermittent or constant pain around their intestines, commonly mistaken for a gastrointestinal issue.
Another common symptom is ongoing fatigue, which can worsen around your period. Sadly, endometriosis can also cause infertility if there is significant scarring around the fallopian tubes. All of these symptoms point to endometriosis being a significant condition.
There is no cure for endometriosis, and unfortunately, it can’t “resolve” on its own. We work to help identify the best way to manage your symptoms. Treatments can include:
- Over-the-counter pain medication
- Hormone treatment (birth control pills, shots, or patches)
- Laparoscopy to keep the organs from adhering to the pelvic wall
- Hysterectomy (only for women who don’t wish to become pregnant in the future)
For some women, entering menopause often brings some relief of symptoms, as the swelling and bleeding of the misplaced endometrial tissue ceases when periods stop.
Are you suffering from symptoms of endometriosis? Contact our team at University Reproductive Associates for a consultation by calling 201-288-6330, or visit our contact page for more information.