What is Endometriosis

What is Endometriosis?

According to an annual report from Google, What is Endometriosis - was the third most searched health question of 2018, currently returning over 31 million results. "What is the keto diet?" and "What is ALS disease?" took first and second place, respectively, on Google's list.

Endometriosis is a condition that affects approximately 5-10 % of reproductive-aged women and up to one third of women with infertility.  Endometriosis is caused by cells from the lining of the uterus growing outside of the uterus in various locations such as in the abdomen, pelvis, and more commonly on the ovaries.   Women with this condition may suffer from abnormal, painful and heavy periods, pain with intercourse and/or bowel movements, severe cramps and pelvic pain. 

Endometriosis impacts all aspects of a woman’s life, including sexual relations, social activities, emotional well being, and work productivity.  The current lack of knowledge and awareness about the causes of endometriosis contributes to the significant delays –sometimes seven to twelve years-from first experiencing symptoms to diagnosis.   

Endometriosis has long been associated with infertility, but the cause still remains unclear. Some women with endometriosis will conceive spontaneously, while others experience significant difficulty and require fertility treatment. Theories of infertility and endometriosis include long-term damage of the fallopian tubes and uterus due to inflammation, a distorted pelvic anatomy, endocrine and ovulatory abnormalities, altered hormonal environment, altered egg quality, and potential difficult egg implantation. 

There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but treatments are available to help manage the condition.  In the case of infertility, there are multiple treatment options that offer excellent success rates. Options such as in vitro fertilization (IVF) bypass inflammation in the fallopian tubes or pelvis and result in high pregnancy rates. Multidisciplinary approaches addressing all patient needs and greater disease awareness are needed to improve care, diagnosis and development of treatments for those suffering from endometriosis.  Physical therapy, acupuncture, and yoga are examples of non-pharmacological strategies that may help ease pain.  Mental health professionals may help treat depression and grieving while providing coping and relaxation strategies. 

Early diagnosis and treatment reduce the long-term impacts of endometriosis and frequency of invasive treatments. Raising awareness is the first step to reducing the delay in diagnosis across all age groups. Education about menstrual health, what is normal and what is not is vital in younger age groups to break the current cycle of delay in diagnosis and on affects for the next generation. 

Our goal at Advanced Reproductive Center is to raise awareness about endometriosis, assist our patients in obtaining early diagnosis, multidisciplinary treatment options and overall success along their fertility journey. 

Jessica TravisComment