Up to 11% of American women of childbearing age suffer from endometriosis, a condition diagnosed when the lining of your uterus grows in other areas of your body. At Georgia Center for Women in Atlanta, Emory, and Morrow, Georgia, the expert OB/GYNs evaluate any pelvic symptoms and treat endometriosis if detected. Call the office nearest you or book online if you’re concerned about endometriosis and potential complications.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of your uterus grows outside of your womb. The tissue may appear on areas including:
You may also develop endometrial tissue on your vagina, cervix, bladder, or rectum.
In early stages, you may not notice endometriosis, but it usually causes symptoms such as:
Digestive problems and pain during urination can also result due to endometriosis. Because these symptoms are often associated with other conditions, endometriosis can be hard to diagnose.
Endometriosis may be diagnosed through your symptoms and sometimes through a pelvic exam. Endometrial tissue can sometimes be felt if it’s large. The doctors at Georgia Center for Women may also perform imaging tests, such as ultrasound or MRI, to check for ovarian cysts that may result due to endometriosis.
The most definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is with minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery. The procedure allows the doctors to look inside you to identify endometrial tissue and remove it.
Endometriosis can interfere with fertility. Why endometriosis affects fertility isn’t fully understood but may be because patches of endometrial tissue can block off the reproductive organs.
Endometriosis may also trigger the immune system to attack an embryo, or cause irregularities in the uterine lining so an embryo can’t attach.
Endometriosis does not have a cure, but treatments can help you manage symptoms. Treatments for women who are not trying to get pregnant include hormonal birth control to ease irregular bleeding and spotting. Hormonal intrauterine devices (IUDs) can help reduce pain and bleeding temporarily, too.
If you are trying to get pregnant, a gonadotropin-releasing agent may help. This drug temporarily blocks the production of hormones that cause ovulation, which slows the growth of endometrial tissue. When you stop taking the hormone and inflammation due to endometriosis has subsided, it may be easier for you to get pregnant.
Surgery to remove patches of endometrial tissue is another option for women trying to get pregnant.
To learn how you can manage endometriosis, call Georgia Center for Women or book an appointment online.