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Endometriosis Q&A

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

Mild cases of endometriosis can be symptom-free. But symptoms that suggest its presence include:

  • Pelvic pain and strong cramps with your menstrual cycle
  • Pain during sex
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Painful urination and bowel movements, especially during periods

Abnormal bleeding after sex or before your menstrual cycle officially starts, or blood in your urine or stool are possible symptoms, too. Because the tissue is uterine in nature, it’s particularly sensitive during your menstrual cycle.

What causes endometriosis?

The exact cause of endometriosis is really unknown. It may have a hereditary cause or be caused by development issues when you were in utero. Knowing what caused your endometriosis isn’t essential in developing a treatment plan.

Where is endometriosis found?

Most commonly, endometriosis appears on the ovaries, outside wall of the uterus, pelvic cavity, and fallopian tubes. You may also find the extra tissue on the bladder, bowel, cervix, and vagina.

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

Surgery is the only definitive way to diagnose endometriosis. Your doctor will consider the symptoms you describe and determine if that’s the right course of action. The surgery used is a minimally-invasive laparoscopic procedure. You might undergo ultrasounds or MRIs to do an initial analysis of your symptoms to see if surgery is warranted.

Can it be cured?

Endometriosis can’t be cured, but it can be managed. Pain symptoms may respond well to certain medications or hormone therapy. Surgery can help clear away excess tissue and relieve pain.

How does it affect fertility?

Endometriosis can negatively affect your ability to have a baby. In women who are infertile, between 20-40 percent have endometriosis. A diagnosis of endometriosis doesn’t mean you won’t be able to have a healthy child, however. Discuss your concerns and options with your doctor. Surgery is one treatment that increases your chance of pregnancy. Pregnancy can actually help reduce the symptoms of endometriosis.

Will I need a hysterectomy?

Not all women with endometriosis require a hysterectomy. That treatment is elective or used in only the most severe cases. But, some women find that a hysterectomy makes an incredible difference in their symptoms.