Endometriosis is a common and often debilitating condition that affects millions of women worldwide. It is characterized by the presence of endometrial-like tissue, similar to the lining of the uterus, growing outside of the uterus. This misplaced tissue can attach to various organs in the pelvic cavity, including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, and intestines.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic condition that can cause a range of symptoms, including:
- Pelvic pain, especially during menstruation and intercourse
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Painful bowel movements or urination
What Causes Endometriosis?
The exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, but there are several theories, including:
- Retrograde menstruation: During menstruation, some menstrual blood flows backward through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity, where it implants and grows.
- Müllerianosis: Endometrial tissue develops from remnants of the embryonic structures that form the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries.
- Metaplasia: Cells from other tissues in the body transform into endometrial-like tissue.
- Immunologic factors: The immune system may play a role in the development of endometriosis.
Who Gets Endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects an estimated 10% of women of reproductive age. It is most common in women between the ages of 30 and 40, but it can occur in women of any age who menstruate.
How Do You Know if You Have Endometriosis?
The diagnosis of endometriosis can be difficult because the symptoms can vary widely and are often similar to those of other conditions. There is no single test that can definitively diagnose endometriosis. The most common diagnostic procedure is laparoscopy, a surgical procedure that allows a doctor to see inside the pelvic cavity and look for endometrial tissue.
How Can Endometriosis be Treated?
There is no cure for endometriosis, but there are several treatments that can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Treatment options include:
- Pain medication: Over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or naproxen, can help relieve pain. In more severe cases, prescription pain medication may be necessary.
- Hormonal therapy: Hormonal contraceptives, such as birth control pills, can help suppress ovulation and reduce the production of estrogen, which can help slow the growth of endometrial tissue.
- Surgery: Surgery is sometimes used to remove endometrial lesions and scar tissue. In some cases, surgery may be recommended to improve fertility.
How Can You Prevent Endometriosis?
There is no known way to prevent endometriosis. However, some circumstances are known to increase your risk of developing the condition, such as:
- Starting your menstrual periods early: Women who start their menstrual periods before age 11 are at an increased risk of developing endometriosis.
- Never having children: Women who have never had children are more likely to develop endometriosis than women who have had children.
- Having a long-term partner: Women who have had the same sexual partner for a long period of time are at an increased risk of developing endometriosis.
Looking to Treat Endometriosis?
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, it is important to see a doctor for diagnosis and treatment. Early diagnosis and treatment can help manage symptoms and improve quality of life. Our pelvic floor therapy clinic specializes in treating endometriosis and can help you develop a personalized treatment plan to relieve pain, improve function, and restore your quality of life.
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Dr. Betty DeLass is heaven sent. Betty addressed my #1 goal with pelvic floor therapy in our very first visit, and has continued to address my most important goals including preparing my pelvic floor for a VBAC. I would write a million reviews for her. She knows what she’s doing and she understands the pelvic floor better than any other pelvic floor therapist I’ve met with. I have met with four other wonderful pelvic floor therapists who helped me in some smaller ways, but Dr. Betty helped me in the most significant ways. I am so grateful for her expertise and passion to help women have better functioning pelvic floors and to be empowered in their health because of that.
Dr. Betty is truly a vagina magician! I first started treating with Dr. Betty when I was 7 months pregnant. After only one treatment I was no longer having issues with incontinency, decreased SIJ area pain, and I didn’t feel like my baby was going to fall out. I wish I would had known about pelvic floor therapy when I had my first two children. Dr. Betty is very knowledgeable, understanding and very easy to communicate with which makes you feel comfortable during treatment. I like that she not only focuses on your pelvic floor but also treats your whole body with the use of manual therapy, dry needling and recommended home exercises. Dr. Betty is definitely at the top of her field and continues to educate herself to better help her patients. I would recommend Dr. Betty and her team to anyone looking to optimize their pelvic floor.