Endometriosis is a common — sometimes painful — gynecologic condition in women. It can cause pelvic or back pain and fertility problems.
Endometriosis is more than cramps. It interferes with a woman's daily life.
For instance, women with the disease miss more days at work or school than those without.
Too often, doctors don't take women seriously or dismiss them as having a low threshold for pain.
At the UPMC Magee-Womens Endometriosis Center in central Pa., we listen to you. We know your symptoms are real, and we'll work with you on a treatment plan that meets your needs.
Endometriosis is a condition where cells that line the womb start growing outside of it — mainly on the:
Endometriosis can also affect the:
Hormone changes in the menstrual cycle cause the endometriosis tissue to become inflamed and painful.
Nearby areas also become sensitive to any source of inflammation.
This causes severe pain with:
There's no one clear cause of endometriosis. Doctors attribute it to many possible reasons.
The classic theory is that it starts from retrograde menstruation. This is where the blood flows back into the pelvis and fallopian tubes instead out of the body.
Another cause may involve your genes.
If your mother or other first-degree relative had endometriosis, you're six times more likely to have the disease.
For some, the condition can start during puberty. For others, it may be several years after starting their period or even having children before they have symptoms.
Endometriosis doesn't always cause symptoms, but when it does, they can range from mild to severe.
The most common symptom is pain.
Specific symptoms may include:
Symptoms are often most severe before and during your period.
During your period, you may be more likely to have symptoms such as:
Call your doctor right away if you have sudden, severe pelvic pain.
The first step to diagnosing and treating your condition is telling your doctor about your symptoms.
Talk to your doctor if:
Endometriosis risk factors include:
Your PCP or ob-gyn will conduct a pelvic exam. They may also order an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI.
A normal test doesn't mean you don't have endometriosis and doesn't mean the pain isn't real.
Endometriosis doesn't routinely show up in exams or scans, but sometimes we get findings that suggest it.
Surgery is often how we confirm endometriosis. But you can start treatment to relieve your pain or other symptoms before surgery.
There's no cure for endometriosis, but there is hope. The first step toward diagnosis and treatment is to share your symptoms with your doctor.
Any number of treatment options may help improve your quality of life.
At the UPMC Magee-Womens Endometriosis Center in central Pa., we'll work together to create a treatment plan designed for you.
These may include one or more of the following:
Many women with endometriosis suffer symptoms up to — and sometimes beyond — menopause.
Our doctors know how this disease impacts your life and are here to help.
To learn more or make an appointment with one of our UPMC endometriosis experts, call 717-988-8170.
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