Endometriosis affects 10-15% of all women of reproductive age, often causing severe pelvic pain and, in many cases, contributing to infertility. The board-certified OB/GYNs at the women's health center at Northwest Arkansas Urology Associates have extensive experience diagnosing endometriosis and providing treatments that ease your symptoms and help you overcome infertility. To schedule an appointment, call the office in Springdale, Rogers, Siloam Springs, or Eureka Springs, Arkansas, or use the online booking feature today.
Endometriosis is a gynecologic condition that occurs when tissues like those that normally line your uterus (the endometrium) grow outside the uterus. Many women develop endometriosis on the outer wall of their uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and bladder. Though not as common, patches of endometriosis may also grow on your intestines and other pelvic structures.
Inside your uterus, the endometrial lining prepares to nurture a fertilized egg. If you don't get pregnant, you shed the lining during your menstrual period.
When similar endometrial tissues grow outside your uterus, they follow the same cycle, accumulating blood and then breaking down during your period. But when the tissues are outside your uterus, the fluids are trapped in your body, where they cause inflammation and scarring.
Endometriosis is one of the top causes of infertility. In addition to the impact of inflammation and scarring on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ovaries, endometriosis causes infertility by changing the hormonal environment, impairing implantation of fertilized eggs, and affecting egg quality.
Endometriosis primarily causes pelvic pain. In addition to abdominal pain, you may also experience:
Though many gynecologic and urologic conditions cause pelvic pain, an estimated 71-87% of women with chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis.
Your provider completes a pelvic exam and may perform an ultrasound to visualize the endometrial patches. Though not as common, they may also recommend a minimally invasive laparoscopy, which allows them to see inside your abdomen, identify the location of endometriosis, and take a biopsy if needed.
The first line of treatment for endometriosis typically includes medications to relieve the pain, as well as hormone-based medicine that slows the growth of endometriosis and stops new patches from forming.
If medications don't help or endometriosis causes infertility, your provider recommends laparoscopic surgery to remove as much of the existing growths as possible. If you have severe symptoms and you're sure you don't want to get pregnant in the future, you can also consider surgery to remove the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes.
If you have ongoing pelvic pain, call the women's health center at Northwest Arkansas Urology Associates or book an appointment online today.