Endometriosis is a condition in which the glands that normally line the inside of the uterus (called the “endometrium”) grow outside of the uterus. Occasionally, endometriosis can be found by chance during another surgery and may not cause any symptoms. In other cases, endometriosis causes inflammation and formation of scar tissue, which can cause pelvic pain, the formation of cysts containing endometriosis (called an “endometrioma”), and/or infertility. The cause of endometriosis is not known at this time.
Though an experienced endometriosis specialist can have a high suspicion of endometriosis based on a patient’s history, physical exam, and imaging findings, this condition can only be diagnosed during a surgery where the gynecologic surgeon can inspect the pelvic organs and obtain biopsy that confirms the diagnosis.
Treatment should be highly individualized to the patient and her treatment goals. Treatment may include:
- Both hormonal and non-hormonal options exist. Medications may help control the symptoms from endometriosis, but it may not work for every patient.
- Surgery to remove endometriosis: This is called “excision of endometriosis” and involves cutting out all suspected visible lesions of endometriosis and removing them from the body. The extent of excision depends on the stage of endometriosis and the organs that are affected.
- In the hands of an experienced endometriosis surgeon, this procedure can be performed in a minimally invasive fashion using small incisions on the abdomen (laparoscopically).
- A combination of medication and surgery.
Your endometriosis specialist will review your available treatment options in detail, including the risks and benefits of each.
If you suspect you may have endometriosis or know you have endometriosis and would like to discuss your treatment options, then please contact UCR Women’s Health at 844-827-8000, option 3.
Dr. Mallory Stuparich