What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a gynecological condition where the tissue from the lining of the uterus is found outside the uterus. Endometriosis can affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and tissues in the pelvis (including the intestines, bladder, and ureters).
Endometriosis tissue responds to hormone changes in the body. The tissue can grow and bleed during the menstrual cycle, similar to the lining of the uterus, except that the blood and tissue for endometriosis cannot leave the body. This can cause the surrounding tissue to become inflamed and irritated, resulting in pelvic pain. Over time, this can cause scar tissue to form cause pelvic tissues to stick together.
Endometriosis can be extremely painful during menstruation.
The most common symptom of endometriosis is moderate to severe pelvic pain associated with a menstrual period.
Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pain when having sexual intercourse
- Pain when having a bowel movement or urinating
- Inability to get pregnant
Your doctor can diagnose endometriosis. During a physical exam, your doctor will examine your abdomen to check for scars or cysts behind the uterus. The symptoms and physical exam can suggest endometriosis. However, the only way to confirm the diagnosis is by seeing the implants during a surgical procedure, such as a laparoscopy.
How is endometriosis treated?
Endometriosis cannot be cured, but the symptoms can be managed if they have become too painful or uncomfortable. Your doctor will develop a customized treatment plan to treat your case. Treatments may include:
- Pain medications
- Hormone therapy
- Hormonal contraceptives
- Endometrial ablation – This procedure involves cauterizing the uterine lining to treat heavy and abnormal bleeding. This procedure can be performed vaginally.
- Laparoscopic endometrial ablation (minimally invasive surgery) – A laparoscopic endometrial ablation is a procedure that can diagnose and treat endometriosis. Your doctor can remove any endometrial implants (tissue) through small incisions in the abdomen. After surgery, most women will have an improvement in their pain. However, 40-80% of women will have pain return within two years of surgery, especially if there is a severe disease. Using hormone therapy after surgery can help prevent endometriosis and pelvic pain from returning. Some women will choose this procedure if they are attempting to get pregnant, although it does not guarantee that a pregnancy can occur.
- Endometriosis resection – Endometriosis resection is a gynecologic surgery where your doctor will remove all visible implants in the pelvis while leaving the uterus and surrounding organs in place.
- Hysterectomy – A hysterectomy, with or without the removal of the ovaries, is used as a last resort option to treat endometriosis.
Why choose NGPG for gynecological surgery?
NGPG is home to experienced providers you can trust. With four convenient locations across northeast Georgia, NGPG provides easy access and scheduling. Our approach to gynecologic services always centers care on the patient and family.
We perform our surgeries with state-of-the-art technology at Northeast Georgia Medical Center, providing our patients access to minimally-invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery options. By offering these options, we can minimize your stay in the hospital, shorten recovery times and reduce pain from surgery. NGMC Gainesville is the first hospital in Georgia to have received accreditation from the SRC as a Center of Excellence in minimally invasive gynecology.
Request an appointment
To request an appointment or to ask questions regarding our gynecologic services, treatments and office locations, please complete our online form or call one of our four office locations.