- Endometriosis refers to the presence of endometrium (the tissue which lines the uterus) in places where it does not belong, outside of the uterus. These implants usually occur in the pelvis but occur rarely in places such as the brain, lungs and surgical incisions.
- Common symptoms include painful periods (dysmenorrhea), painful intercourse (dyspareunia) and pelvic pain
- Symptoms are largely cyclic, getting worse with the period.
- The symptoms of endometriosis do not correlate well with the extent (stage) of the disease. Some women have very mild disease but severe pain and others with severe endometriosis may have have little or no pain.
- A definitive diagnosis requires laparoscopy ( a type of surgery) but oftentimes doctors will try medications first before resorting to surgery.
Endometriosis and infertility
- Women with more advanced endometriosis (stage III and IV) are more likely to have trouble getting pregnant.
- The link with early stage endometriosis (stages I and II) are less clear.
- There are studies suggesting the treatment of early stage endometriosis may help couples conceive without treatment and that treating endometriosis may help make IVF more successful.
- Many of the most effective treatments for endometriosis pain will actually prevent pregnancy.
These are some of the treatments used to treat endometriosis:
- Birth control pills
- Progestins (Provera, Aygestin)
- GnRH Agonists such as Lupron
- Aromatase inhibitors (letrozole, anstrazole)
- Laparoscopic surgery
- Fertility drugs along with insemination