- Endometriosis Specialist
- What is endometriosis?
- What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
- How is endometriosis treated?
- Once I have treatment, can endometriosis occur again?
- Living with Endometriosis: How to Find the Right Doctor
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What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus – the endometrium – begins growing outside the uterus, most commonly on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the intestines or the outer wall of the uterus. In a few rare instances, the tissue may spread to areas outside the belly region. These growths are called implants, and they can fluctuate in size and symptoms along with your natural hormonal changes. Endometriosis is most common during childbearing years and implants usually shrink during menopause.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
Some women have no symptoms at all; others may only realize they have endometriosis if they have trouble getting pregnant. The most common symptoms are:
- pelvic pain
- low back pain before periods
- severe cramping during periods
- pain during intercourse
- abnormal vaginal bleeding
- pain during bowel movements
- blood in your bowel movement or urine
- vaginal bleeding following sex
Symptoms tend to become worse during periods, but some women may have persistent symptoms.
How is endometriosis treated?
Endometriosis cannot be cured, but treatments for symptoms like pain and infertility can help you lead a normal life. The treatment that’s used depends on how severe your condition is, can can include the use of hormone therapy to lower estrogen levels and shrink implants, pain medication, IVF or insemination, or surgery. Sometimes, a combination of treatments is necessary.
Once I have treatment, can endometriosis occur again?
Because there is no cure, treatment of endometriosis is ongoing. Some women find they can successfully manage the symptoms and effects of endometriosis with regular, ongoing treatment, and others may find their symptoms continue. Dr. Pilshchik will be able to help you understand your options and which ones may work best for you.
Living with Endometriosis: How to Find the Right Doctor
It is important to have a counselor, a therapist, and/or a psychiatrist to talk to about the emotions you’re experiencing due to your endometriosis. It can be helpful to talk to someone who is not part of your family and gives you time for relaxation and to try different techniques that can be beneficial for relieving stress. It’s also valuable to have an outlet for your feelings that won’t affect anyone else. Some of these medical professionals do not prescribe medication, but can refer you to a physician who does if that is something you both agree you need. It can take up time and money depending on what your insurance will cover, but in my opinion, it is well worth it.
This book is available wherever books are sold, but readers can most easily obtain it from Amazon. Living With Endometriosis is published by Hatherleigh Press and distributed by Penguin Random House.
*Excerpt printed with permission from the publisher.
Updated on: 06/14/18 Continue Reading: Exams and Test to Diagnose Pelvic Pain
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by Kim Plessel, MS, RDN, LD
Pain Medications for Endometriosis
Your doctor may recommend over-the-counter non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications that include naproxen (Aleve, others) or ibuprofen (Advil, others) to help you manage painful cramps before, during and after your period. Narcotic pain medications are generally used for post-surgery pain management only and are not a good strategy for dealing with the long term effects of chronic pain and endometriosis.
Oral Contraceptive, Hormone Therapy for Endometriosis
Medications to influence this estrogen-dependent condition are a common treatment option. Research shows hormone therapy can help reduce pain, prevent new implants, and possibly slow the growth of existing implants. Based on the symptoms of endometriosis, your doctor may recommend:
- Oral contraceptives using a conventional, cyclic approach, where hormones are withheld for several days each monthly cycle. You will most likely have a menstrual period every month.
- Oral contraceptives using a continuous approach, where low levels of estrogen are taken continuously. You may skip a menstrual period for several months.
- Medically-induced hormone suppression or a state of temporary “menopause”, where estrogen is suspended for a short period of time, helping to slow the growth of endometriosis.
While medications can help to relieve symptoms, they generally do not cure endometriosis and are considered a temporary or adjunctive solution to surgery.
Endometriosis Support & Education
We’re proud to partner with Minnesota Endo Warriors, a local, nonprofit organization started and run by women with endometriosis. The group is dedicated to providing education, support, and access to critical resources for people with endometriosis. Our team, which includes physicians, a physical therapist, and a registered dietician, collaborates with MN Endo Warriors in a variety of ways, including initiatives related to the Worldwide EndoMarch, support groups, and other events throughout the year.
We also partner with Midwest Endometriosis Association, which is dedicated to improving the lives of people with endometriosis who live in the midwest. It offers education and advocacy to women who experience endometriosis, including support groups and community outreach.
Mpls.St.Paul Magazine recently announced their 2019 “Top Doctors Rising Stars” and we’re thrilled to say our own Dr. Matthew Palmer was named to this year’s list! Learn more