Information regarding endometriosis helps our Chicago patients plan for future pregnancies
Endometriosis is a woman’s health condition that can cause chronic pelvic pain. This condition is characterized by the growth of tissue that resembles the uterine lining in areas outside of the uterus. Pieces of tissue called implants may develop on the peritoneum, the lining between the pelvis and abdomen. Cysts may form on the ovaries, and tubes may become blocked. In some cases, implants grow in the area between the rectum and the vagina. Because endometriosis can be disruptive to quality of life, it is important to obtain a medical evaluation and accurate diagnosis. At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates, in Chicago, this can be done with laparoscopic surgery.
The procedure is typically performed under general anesthesia. During the surgery, the doctor can observe the pelvic organs and identify abnormal lesions that indicate endometriosis, such as scarring or adhesions. Depending on your family or medical history, the inside of the uterus may also be evaluated. Atypical tissue may be removed and examined in a lab to confirm diagnosis. Because the implications of endometriosis are significant, accuracy is imperative to treatment planning.
Endometriosis is associated with ovarian function. Once a diagnosis has been made, the condition is expected to recur until menopause. Treatment planning considers the severity of the condition and a woman’s desire to become pregnant in the future. Even when surgery is performed to remove adhesions and other endometriotic tissue, follow up with medication may be necessary to decrease the risk of future complications.
The recurrence of endometriosis is associated with higher estrogen levels. In many cases, birth control pills are prescribed to minimize the symptoms of mild to moderate endometriosis. This treatment may also be prescribed to women who have undergone laparoscopy as a preventive measure. Research demonstrates that medication therapy and laparoscopy can improve the symptoms of endometriosis temporarily. However, the issue of fertility is more complex. Mild endometriosis may not effect fertility although severe or extensive endometriosis can.
At Northwestern Women’s Health Associates, patients may explore their options for expert care and planning for endometriosis and infertility. To schedule a consultation, call 1-312-440-9400.