The uterus is lined with tissue known as the endometrium. Each month, it thickens and is then shed during menstruation. However, in women with endometriosis, the endometrial lining grows outside of the uterus, such as in the fallopian tubes, pelvis, and around the ovaries.
Endometriosis is a painful condition that can compromise female fertility. It is important that women recognize potential symptoms so that they can seek diagnosis and treatment. Here, Dr. Sonja Kristiansen of the Houston Fertility Center discusses endometriosis pain and diagnosis so that our Houston, TX, patients can get treatment to assist them in becoming pregnant.
Pain Associated with Endometriosis
Endometriosis can cause several different types of pain or discomfort. The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful periods
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain when urinating or having a bowel movement
- Gastrointestinal distress
One of the reasons that so many cases of endometriosis are not diagnosed is because the symptoms of this condition are not regularly talked about. Furthermore, because so many women have been told that pain is normal during menstruation, the condition is often underreported. Even women who do bring up unusual pain with their doctors are often dismissed. As a result, many women are unaware that they have this condition. Oftentimes, it is not until endometriosis interferes with a woman’s plans to start a family that she seeks fertility treatment and is finally diagnosed.
Women who experience potential symptoms of endometriosis should report them to a medical provider or fertility specialist as soon as possible so that appropriate testing can be performed. If Dr. Kristiansen suspects that one of her Sugar Land patients is suffering from endometriosis, she can perform a transvaginal sonogram.
During a transvaginal sonogram, a transducer is inserted into the vagina. This small device emits high-frequency sound waves to create a digital image of the pelvic area. This procedure allows Dr. Kristiansen to examine the reproductive organs and look for potential signs of endometriosis, such as uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts.
In some cases, additional testing beyond a transvaginal sonogram may be needed to confirm a diagnosis. If so, Dr. Kristiansen may recommend a laparoscopy evaluation. This surgical procedure uses a mini telescope to obtain an even clearer view of the reproductive organs in the pelvis. Growths, lesions, or scar tissue in this area are indicators of endometriosis.
Women who are diagnosed with endometriosis have treatment options available to them to slow the excessive growth of endometrial tissues, relieve pain, and improve the chances of a successful pregnancy. Some of the most common treatments recommended to endometriosis patients include:
- Medication or hormone therapy
- Laser surgery to remove adhesions, lesions, or growths
- Fertility treatments, such as IVF, to address fertility concerns
If you are suffering from potential symptoms of endometriosis, or have experienced fertility issues, the services offered by Dr. Sonja Kristiansen at the Houston Fertility Clinic can be beneficial. To learn more, send us a message online or call (713) 225-5375 to schedule a consultation.