By Dr. Barry Witt
Endometriosis is one of the most common causes of pelvic pain and infertility, affecting an estimated 200 million girls and women, yet many still do not understand the disease. Barry Witt, Medical Director with WINFertility, offers the following 5 Things to Know about Endometriosis:
What is endometriosis Endometriosis is a condition in which the type of tissue that forms the lining of the uterus is found outside the uterus. Endometriosis is a long-term condition that often continues to cause symptoms until menopause when estrogen levels decline. Endometriosis occurs in about 1 in 10 women of reproductive age. Forty percent of women with infertility have endometriosis.
Cause The cause of endometriosis is unknown. There appears to be some genetic component as the incidence is higher in women whose mother or sister has had endometriosis. The hormone estrogen contributes to the growth of endometriosis and its resulting scarring.
Symptoms The most common symptom of endometriosis is pain that occurs with menstruation and worsens over time. Depending on the location of the endometriosis, it may also lead to pain during sex, urination or bowel movements.
Impact on Fertility Since endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries and fallopian tubes it can often affect fertility.
Treatment Options The treatment depends on the severity of the symptoms, the extent of the disease, and whether the patient is trying to get pregnant or not.
Surgery- Some women with endometriosis can be treated with minimally invasive surgery, like laparoscopy, where the endometriosis is removed or cauterized. In some cases, deep-excision surgery may be necessary to remove abnormal tissue. Hysterectomy is a last resort for those with severe pain who fail other surgical and medical treatments.
Medications- Medication may be used to treat endometriosis including pain relievers and hormonal medications.
How to Learn More There are several organizations that are involved in raising awareness about endometriosis. Some are listed here: Endometriosis Association (EA) (https://endometriosisassn.org/); HealthyWomen (https://www.healthywomen.org/)
For more information, please visit www.winfertility.com
Dr.Witt is Medical Director of WINFertility and Greenwich Fertility. He is a board-certified reproductive endocrinologist and OBGYN who has been offering reproductive care for more than 25 years.