What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue from the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus into other parts of the body, such as the ovaries or fallopian tubes, causing multiple issues. These misplaced tissues behave like healthy endometrial tissue and build up each month, break down, and cause bleeding. Unfortunately, unlike the lining of the uterus, the blood from these growths does not have a way to leave the body, causing internal bleeding. This internal bleeding inflames the surrounding areas and may form scar tissue, which may cause infertility.
How Do We Diagnose Endometriosis?
The gold standard of diagnosing endometriosis is through a surgery called a laparoscopy. Many believe that An ultrasound exam can be limited in detecting endometriosis, so just because you don’t see it on the ultrasound does not mean it is not present. An ultrasound can also detect lesions on the ovaries, but you don’t need to have lesions in order to have endometriosis. Doing surgery in the properly selected patient may help with painful menstrual symptoms and many times is the only way a lesion can be adequately treated.
Some women diagnosed with endometriosis do not have any symptoms, but if symptoms are experienced, the most common are pain with intercourse, painful bowel movements during menses, infertility, pelvic pain, ovarian cysts, irregular vaginal bleeding, and severe pain with menses. Since pelvic pain is cyclical, these common symptoms may only occur around the time of menses.
Stages of Endometriosis
Endometriosis classified in four stages:
- Stage 1: Minimal
- Stage 2: Mild
- Stage 3: Moderate
- Stage 4: Severe
The classification of endometriosis stages are based on exact location, extent (presence, depth, and size) of endometriosis implants outside of the uterus, and the presence and severity of scar tissue. It is important to note that the stage of endometriosis does not always correlate with the patient’s symptoms.
Effects on Fertility
When trying to conceive, untreated endometriosis can often be the root cause of your infertility. Besides addressing the pain and discomfort that is associated with endometriosis, surgery can also contribute to improved pregnancy rates depending on the particular issues caused in the patient from endometriosis. It may also help optimize conditions for pregnancy, provide insight into former diagnosis of unexplained infertility, and multiple failed attempts with Assisted Reproductive Technologies (ART). Whether you are trying to boost natural pregnancy rates, make fertility technologies like IUI or IVF more successful, or clear up existing endometriosis at any stage, MRSC is here to provide you with the most effective treatment for your goals.
How Do We Treat Endometriosis?
We treat endometriosis with your future fertility and overall reproductive health in mind. We use minimally invasive laparoscopy to remove endometrial tissue without removing any normal tissue or reproductive organs in conservative surgery. The minimally-invasive style of the procedure allows you to have less recovery time and helps prevent additional problems down the road. It also leaves less scar tissue and is considered generally safer. Endometriosis is a progressively destructive condition and can be treated effectively with fertility surgical intervention. This should restore natural fertility and decrease the progressive decline in reproductive potential.