Endometriosis is a painful condition that can lead to a devastating consequence for certain women — infertility. The condition is complex and difficult to self-detect because symptoms mimic those that accompany your period, which may delay diagnosis.
In this post, we discuss what endometriosis is, the symptoms to watch for, and how to tell the difference between it and a pattern of bad periods, so you can get diagnosed and treated early.
Dr. Kevin Hooker and our team are committed to providing the most advanced obstetric and gynecologic care while offering gentle guidance as you navigate a gynecologic problem, condition, fertility treatment, or pregnancy. His vast experience, combined with a unique patient-centered approach, means that you’re in the best hands no matter what service you seek at Lake Havasu OB/GYN Care.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition marked by uncontrolled growth of your uterine lining, and it affects 2-10% of women between the ages of 25 and 40. It can even grow outside your uterus and affect other organs, such as your ovaries and fallopian tubes. It can also affect tissue other than your pelvic organs, but it’s unusual.
This “out of control” endometrium attempts to shed itself from your body monthly, just like your appropriately placed uterine lining. The problem is that there is no way for it to exit your body.
Certain health conditions and many other factors lead to the development of endometriosis. These include immune system disorders, surgical scarring, genetic predisposition to the condition, and having a uterus that has an unusual shape or size.
Some women also suffer from retrograde menstruation, where the menstrual blood flows back into the fallopian tubes, which is a risk factor for endometriosis as well.
If you naturally happen to have high levels of estrogen, this makes you more prone to endometriosis, and if it affects your ovaries, cysts can develop.
A diagnostic dilemma with endometriosis
As we noted, the symptoms of endometriosis can look just like the signs that accompany severe periods. With both conditions, you experience:
- Severe menstrual cramps
- Lower back and pelvic pain
- Heavy bleeding
- Irregular periods
Doesn’t this list read just like an overview of period symptoms? This is why arriving at a diagnosis of endometriosis can be a challenge.
Fortunately, Dr. Hooker’s experience diagnosing and treating endometriosis has given him an advantageous perspective when you experience severe period symptoms.
Some differentiating questions he asks are whether your bleeding during periods is heavy or so bad that it’s keeping you from engaging in normal activities on certain days. The bleeding may also worsen over time.
Dr. Hooker asks you whether you suffer with cramps and low back pain both before and after your period, which can point to endometriosis. Painful intercourse, bleeding between periods, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting can lead him to suspect endometriosis, too.
There is hope for relief from endometriosis
If Dr. Hooker diagnoses you with endometriosis, it should be a relief because he can offer you one or a combination of available treatments. You can finally be free from the pain and discomfort and prevent fertility problems — though if you come to us with fertility issues that lead to an endometriosis diagnosis, Dr. Hooker offers sophisticated fertility treatments as well.
Treatments that Dr. Hooker turns to for endometriosis include:
- Pain medication
- Hormone replacement therapy
- Fertility treatment
Dr. Hooker may also advise a minimally invasive laparoscopic surgical solution, performed at Lake Havasu Regional Medical Center, to remove excess endometrial tissue.
If you’re suffering from debilitating menstrual symptoms, schedule a consultation with Dr. Hooker to ensure you don’t have endometriosis. If you have endometriosis, we’re here to guide you through your treatment and recovery journey.
Call our office at 928-683-1667 or reach out to us through our website.