Endometriosis can be incredibly painful. Beyond that, what are the other symptoms? What causes endometriosis, and what are your treatment options? What are the warning signs you need the best endometriosis specialist in Alexandria, Virginia?
This guide will answer all those questions and more. It’s time you stop suffering and get the help you need.
What Are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Because this condition can lead to serious health consequences if left untreated, you should consider all of these warning signs to seek help as soon as possible:
- Digestive trouble
- Heavy periods
- Lack of energy and/or fatigue
- Pain during and after sex
- Pain when going to the bathroom either during urination or a bowel movement
- Painful cramping during your period that worsens over time
- Pelvic pain
- Spotting between periods
What Causes Endometriosis?
Your uterus is lined with tissue called endometrium. Endometriosis occurs when the cells inside the lining of your uterus grow in other places outside the uterus. These tissue growths are referred to as lesions, nodules, or implants.
The actual cause of this is currently unknown. But, there are theories that suggest retrograde menstruation (backward menstrual flow), genetics, or problems with your immune system can contribute to endometriosis.
Lesions are often found on or around the ovaries, on fallopian tubes, behind or around the uterus, and on the bladder or bowels. As you can see, multiple organs can be affected. This condition can lead to infertility as well as other serious health conditions if not properly diagnosed and treated.
Who Is at Risk for Developing Endometriosis?
Endometriosis can affect anyone who menstruates, but there are certain individuals who are at a higher risk. If your period started before the age of 11, your monthly cycles are shorter than normal, your periods are heavy and last more than a week, or if there is a family history of endometriosis, it’s important to see your gynecologist for regular checkups.
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
To obtain an accurate diagnosis, you need to schedule an appointment with the best endometriosis specialist in Alexandria, Virginia. They will ask about your medical history, health conditions, medications, and symptoms. Be thorough with your description, so they can gain a clear understanding of what you’re going through.
During your visit, you can expect to have a pelvic exam. It might also be necessary for you to have an ultrasound or an MRI (magnetic resonance imaging). These tests are not painful.
In some cases, an endometriosis specialist will recommend laparoscopy. This is a surgical procedure that allows your provider to see where lesions have occurred and to what extent.
If I Am Diagnosed With Endometriosis, What Are My Treatment Options?
Endometriosis treatment is medication or surgery. It is possible you’ll find pain relief from over-the-counter medicines. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, your doctor might suggest pain medicines combined with some type of hormone therapy.
If you are planning to become pregnant, you can still benefit from surgery. Lesions can be removed while keeping your uterus and ovaries intact. If you are having trouble conceiving due to endometriosis, you should ask your specialist about fertility treatments.
In severe cases of endometriosis, a hysterectomy may be recommended. This is reserved for patients who are not planning to have children and have not responded to other more conservative treatments. It should be noted that a hysterectomy does lead to early menopause, which might require additional treatment.
Can Endometriosis Come Back After Treatment?
Unfortunately, yes. Even after surgery, there is a possibility that endometriosis can develop again. There is a higher chance of recurrence if you had ovarian cysts at the time of surgery if the lesions were large, and/or if other organs were affected.
Endometriosis can also recur if not all legions were removed during a previous surgery. The recurrence rate is around 20% to 30%. You might not exhibit the same exact symptoms if endometriosis returns, so please do not hesitate to see your specialist as soon as possible if you suspect there is a problem.
Is There Anything I Can Do to Prevent Endometriosis?
There is no way to completely prevent endometriosis, but there are lifestyle habits that might reduce your chances of getting it. Of course, a healthy diet and exercise are good for your body all the time. If you need to alter your eating habits and add hitting the gym to your list of things to do, now is the perfect time to do so.
Studies have shown that alcohol can raise estrogen production. Elevated estrogen can lead to endometriosis, so cut back on your alcohol consumption. If you don’t quit entirely, a good rule of thumb is to stick to one drink per day.
Different studies have had mixed results on caffeine intake. While it’s all inconclusive, it sure can’t hurt to cut back on caffeine and drink more water.
The Best Endometriosis Specialist in Alexandria, Virginia, Can Be Found at Women’s Health Care Specialist!
If you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis or have other concerns, please do not delay treatment. The earlier this condition is caught, the better the outcome.
At Women’s HealthCare Specialists, Dr. Modi and team strive to always provide patients with top-notch, comprehensive, personalized care. We’ll do the same for you, and we’re honored you are considering our services.
Give us a call at 301-812-3400 to book your appointment today, and be on your way to better health!