Endometriosis

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Missing work or parts of your life because of a period isn’t normal. If you have painful periods or pelvic pain, you could have endometriosis. Treatment can help make periods – and your life – much better.

Endometriosis causes the inside lining of the uterus to travel outside of the uterus and into the pelvis, where it's not supposed to be. It can cause intense pain around the time of your periods. It can lead to chronic pelvic pain and muscular pain. Dealing with this pain is stressful.

Endometriosis Treatment Options at UVA

At UVA, we offer a unique approach to treating endometriosis. You’ll work with a team of specialists in a variety of therapies. This gives you options. Together, we’ll develop a treatment plan that works for you.

Treatments include:

  • Surgeries, including non-traditional procedures
  • Medications for pain management
  • Hormone therapy
  • Physical therapy for pain
  • Mental health professionals to help deal with stress from chronic pelvic pain

Treatment options depend on:

  • Severity of symptoms
  • Size, number, and location of growths
  • Degree of scarring
  • Extent of the disease
  • Age and whether you want to have a baby

Hormonal Therapy

Hormones are an option for women who don't want to become pregnant. Birth control pills and other injectable drugs interfere with estrogen production. This can lessen your pain. It might also shrink the size and number of endometrial growths.

After surgery, birth control pills can reduce the chance of these growths returning.

Surgery

Your doctor may try to remove endometrial growths if you have severe symptoms or want to get pregnant.

In severe, unmanageable cases, your doctor may remove your uterus and ovaries. Otherwise, we have quick, same-day procedures that get you in and out and on with life. 

Learn more about your options for minimally invasive gynecologic surgery.

What Causes Endometriosis?

Possible causes include:

  • Menstrual tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes and spills into the abdomen
  • Immune system allows the tissue to implant on other organ surfaces and develop into endometriosis
  • Lymph system carries endometrial cells from the uterus
  • Certain cells left on abdominal organs during embryonic development turn into endometrial tissue

Hormones and growth factors cause the disease to progress.

What Does Endometriosis Feel Like?

Symptoms range from mild to severe. You may have many large growths with little pain or small areas with intense pain.

Symptoms include:

  • Cramping and pelvic pain, especially just before and during menstrual bleeding
  • Pain during sex
  • Heavy periods
  • Low back pain
  • Pain during bowel movements or urination
  • Infertility
  • Miscarriage

 

Content was created using EBSCO’s Health Library. Edits to original content made by Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. This information is not a substitute for professional medical advice.