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  • Writer's pictureJames T. Martin, MD

What is endometriosis?

Updated: Feb 21, 2021

What is endometriosis?

By James T. Martin, MD

I'm often asked, "What is endometriosis?" It's a condition where the lining of the uterus that is shed each month during the menstrual cycle is outside the uterus in the pelvis.

How does it get there? Most commonly, is is retrograde flow of the menstrual tissue and blood out the fallopian tubes instead of everything exiting the cervix. These implants of tissue stick to different organs in the pelvis and abdomen and cause a painful reaction.

These implants of tissue can attach to the ovaries, the bowel, the bladder, or any organ in the abdominal cavity. When they do, it causes a reaction and inflammation that causes scar tissue, pain, and discomfort at any time during the cycle, intercourse, emptying of the bladder, or bowel movements.

How do you know if you have endometriosis? Some of the more common symptoms of endometriosis may include severe cramps with the menstrual cycle or pain during intercourse. It may be localized in the pelvis or located in other areas of the abdomen. The most efficient way of diagnosing endometriosis is with the laparoscope. Many years ago, the laparoscope was not refined as it is today. Now, it is a simple outpatient procedure with a 24-48 hour recovery period. We can not only diagnose endometriosis, we can aggressively treat it so we can try to prevent injury to the pelvic organs and enhance reproductive capabilities in the future.

In addition to being treated at the time of laparoscopy, there are numerous medications that can be used to treat endometriosis and preserve fertility for the future. It is very promising and we are excited at the fact that we can preserve women's abdominal health so that they'll be able to conceive and have their families as they wish. These medications are sometimes very simple. Other times, they have side effects, but the consequences of endometriosis is so severe that it is very important that women understand if they do have it, what steps need to be taken to treat it and get rid of it.

Thanks for reading! Check back soon for more answers to our patients questions.

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