Endometriosis: There’s No Need To Live In Pain

Endometriosis is a gynecological medical condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the ovaries. Its main, but not universal symptom is severe recurring pelvic pain.

The pain can be mild to severe cramping on both sides of the pelvis, radiating to the lower back and rectal area, and even down the legs.

“The amount of pain a woman feels is not necessarily related to the extent or stage of endometriosis,” says ob/gyn Steven C. Goldberg, M.D., FACOG.

“Some women will have little or no pain despite having extensive endometriosis affecting large areas, or having endometriosis with scarring. On the other hand, women may have severe pain even though they have only a few small areas of endometriosis.”

Endometriosis occurs in an estimated 6 to 10 percent of women in their reproductive years and can lead to infertility, painful and disabling menstrual cramps, irregular bleeding, abdominal and lower back pain, leg pain, painful sex, and painful urination and bowel movements.

“Some women spend needless years in pain caused by undiagnosed endometriosis,” says Dr. Goldberg. “Diagnosis begins with a pelvic exam and is confirmed, in most cases, by a trans-vaginal ultrasound Performed comfortably right here in our office. With some patients, we need to perform other testing, such as a biopsy or a minimally invasive pelvic laparoscopy, where a tiny surgical viewing instrument is inserted through the patient’s navel.”

Treatment options include beginning a course of low-dose birth control pills, which suppress the growth of endometrium, other medications, localized cauterization of the endometrial sites, and sometimes, surgical intervention. “While there is no cure for endometriosis, treatment can help relieve some or all of the symptoms in many women for years,” says Dr. Goldberg. “Talk to your doctor if you think you may be experiencing symptoms related to endometriosis. With the treatments and medication available, there is no need to live with pain, and your physician can help.”