Endometriosis, what is it?
At Coyle Institute, our team of experienced professionals provides innovative healthcare for a variety of women’s urogynecological issues. Among the issues many women face is endometriosis. This is defined as a condition that occurs when the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, into other areas of the pelvic area. Approximately 1 out of every 10 women of child-bearing age are affected by this condition. Endometriosis is not just uncomfortable, but it may also lead to fertility issues. So, knowing if you are at risk is important. Dr. Michael Coyle and his team will not only educate you on endometrial risk factors, but they can also give you specific ways to reduce and manage them.
What Are the Risk Factors for Endometriosis?
Any woman who menstruates can develop endometriosis, so how do you know if you could be at risk? There are several factors that could increase your chances and knowing them can help you take steps to reduce them. Your risk of getting endometriosis escalates if any of the following are applicable:
If your mom or grandmother (on either side) suffered from endometriosis, there is a chance that you will too. The relative can be distant and you still are 7-10 times more likely to develop it than someone without affected family members.
Menstrual Cycle Duration
Longer menstrual cycles mean larger endometrial risks. Starting your period at a young age, frequent and lengthy periods all add up to higher chances of having endometriosis.
Blocked Menstrual Flow
Health problems that block or redirect menstrual flow sometimes causing it to flow back into the body (retrograde menstruation) are risk factors for endometriosis.
Immune System Disorders
Compromised immune systems may fail to stop the spread of endometrial tissue throughout the pelvis
Never Given Birth
Giving birth reduces the risk of developing endometriosis, therefore women who have not are at a higher risk.
Although any menstruating woman can develop endometriosis, it is far more common among women in their 20’s and 30’s.
Abdominal surgery can displace endometrial tissues and any undestroyed tissue can lead to endometriosis.
Could I Have Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a complex medical condition. Some women may be asymptomatic. In others, it can cause pain and discomfort ranging from mild to severe. It is also a leading cause of infertility. An accurate diagnosis would begin with a pelvic exam and be followed by an ultrasound or MRI to confirm the presence of a growth. Laparoscopic surgery could be used to gain a better picture of the pelvic area if needed.
Signs and Symptoms to Observe
Some common signs and symptoms to watch for include:
- Chronic severe pelvic pain
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Pain during or following intercourse
- Pain during urination or bowel movements during menses
- Heavy menstrual flow
- Lower back pain
- Heavy bleeding between menstrual cycles
- Intestinal pain
- Increased digestive problems while menstruating
If you suspect you have endometriosis or just have questions, the trusted professionals at Coyle Institute will help you find the answers and treatment that you need.
How Serious is Endometriosis?
In many cases, endometriosis is a painful nuisance and women seek medical intervention to ease their symptoms. It can lead to more serious conditions if left unaddressed. Not only can endometriosis affect your reproductive health, but there is also a link between endometriosis and ovarian cancer. Endometriosis, especially ovarian endometriosis has the potential to become cancerous.
Reducing the Risks
Although some of the factors that increase a woman’s chance of getting endometriosis are out of her control, there are some purposeful steps that can be taken to reduce the risks. High estrogen levels cause a thickening of the uterine linen. Consequently, reducing estrogen levels may lower your risk of getting endometriosis. Some common ways to lower estrogen levels are reducing alcohol and caffeine intake, switching to a lower estrogen birth control pills and exercising regularly.
If you display symptoms of endometriosis, you should consult a health care professional immediately. Misdiagnosis is common with this condition. It is important to seek answers from experts like Dr. Coyle, who specializes in using innovative treatments to provide his patients with the best and most advanced care in urogynecology. While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are a number of treatments that can manage its symptoms. The first and most benign option (for those not trying to conceive) is hormonal birth control. Other treatments include insertion of an IUD, vaginal rings and hormone therapy via shot, patches or oral ingestion. Women attempting to get pregnant may be prescribed hormone agonists to suspend the production of estrogen to stop ovulation, menstrual cycles and the growth of endometrial tissue temporarily. After these medications have been stopped, menses will resume and any attempt for pregnancy is given a higher success rate.
Surgery would be a last resort for cases that are severe or where reproductive health is an issue and when other less invasive treatments have failed. Additionally, OTC meds and holistic measures including herbs/supplements, acupuncture and more may be explored.
Find the Best Treatment for You
Women do not have to suffer through their endometrial issues in silence. At Coyle Institute we provide the latest scientific, technological advancements ensuring our patients receive the best treatment available. Knowing the risk factors, signs and symptoms are the first pieces of protection against endometriosis. Dr. Coyle and his experienced team will determine if you have endometriosis and then offer the best treatment plan to manage it.
At Coyle Institute, we restore women’s lives through improved pelvic health so you can focus on what’s important: enjoying your life and the people you love.