One of the few organs that change its size throughout a person’s fertile years is the endometrium. During the menstrual cycle, the body prepares the endometrium to host an embryo. If pregnancy occurs, the embryo attaches itself to the endometrium, otherwise, the endometrium is shed and periods follow.
Endometriosis happens when endometrial-like tissue grows on your ovaries, bowel, and tissues lining your pelvis. It’s unusual for endometrial tissue to spread beyond your pelvic region, however, there are cases in which it has been found beyond also.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a benign disease: it doesn’t kill. However, it sometimes causes debilitating pain and infertility. The symptoms of endometriosis vary and they are:
Cramps one or two weeks around menstruation
Heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding between periods
Pain following sexual intercourse
Discomfort with bowel movements
Lower back pain that may occur at any time during your menstrual cycle.
The bad news is, endometriosis does not have a permanent cure, but the symptoms can be managed with medicines, food and in critical cases, surgery. The decision for treatment vests with the severity of the condition. The doctor may suggest over the counter pills to reduce pain or hormone treatments. Age and overall health matter too. If these treatments are not effective, and the pain is too severe to bear, the doctor might suggest surgery to remove the endometrial tissue.
When is it time for endometriosis surgery?
Your age, the severity of the condition and the goals that you want to achieve forms the basis for the surgery. Your age and your fitness levels matter too.
You have severe pelvic pain
Medication doesn’t get your symptoms under control
You have trouble getting pregnant
Endometriosis surgery: how does it work?
The doctor will assess the situation and decide on what course of surgery to take. A laparoscopy surgery for endometriosis is the easiest one. The doctor checks and removes the endometriosis and it is normally an outpatient procedure. Laparotomy surgery for endometriosis is major surgery, with one large cut in your stomach. The doctor resorts to Laparotomy when you have severe endometriosis that they can’t treat with laparoscopy. Depending on your age and overall health, the doctor may recommend a hysterectomy for women whose symptoms don’t go away despite other treatments. If you are sure that you are not planning pregnancy down the road, your doctor may suggest hysterectomy – an operation that takes out some or all of your reproductive organs if they’re damaged or if they have endometriosis tissue on them. However, that happens only if the medications are not yielding the desired results.
Most patients see a remarkable decrease in pain post-surgery. Laparoscopy and laparotomy are equally effective in relieving pain and improving fertility. Deciding which surgical procedure to use should be based on the patient and the doctor involved. Endometriosis, as mentioned earlier, does not have a cure. Nor is surgery a permanent solution. However, it has been found that symptoms of endometriosis usually improve after menopause.
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