At Central Maine Healthcare, we understand how frustrating it is to deal with the effects of endometriosis. Our caring gynecologists want to help you get back on the road to feeling healthy and pain-free once again. That’s why we offer the latest in diagnostic and surgical technology, as well as prioritize treatments that are minimally invasive. It’s our goal to do everything we can to ensure your endometriosis is significantly lessened so you can get back to living well.
If you’ve been having pelvic pain, you might be wondering if it’s endometriosis. This frustrating condition occurs when the tissue that typically grows on the inside of the uterus migrates to the outside of the uterus and grows there. The typical cycle for endometrial tissue follows the path of your menstrual cycle, expanding, contracting, then expelling tissue with your period. But when this happens on the exterior of your uterus, it’s not effective and can instead be very painful.
When you come in for your appointment, your gynecologist will decide what diagnostic tool is the best depending on the description of your symptoms. These techniques for diagnosing might include one or more of the following:
- Pelvic exam: A simple exam to see if the doctor can feel the endometrial tissue growing outside of the uterus in the form of cysts or scar tissue and where it might be attached.
- Ultrasound: Either an external or internal ultrasound to create a visual of where the endometrial tissue might be in your pelvic cavity.
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): Creating a more detailed visual of what’s going on internally with an MRI will help get a clearer picture of how endometriosis is affecting you and how extensive it is.
- Laparoscopy: Typically done by a surgeon, a laparoscopy involves a tiny incision done during general anesthesia, after which an instrument is inserted that allows the physician to see inside your abdomen. In some cases, the endometriosis can be surgically corrected in the same appointment.
Treatment for Endometriosis
At Central Maine Healthcare, we want you to feel your best and achieve your fertility goals. Your doctor will discuss the various treatment options with you and whether you would like to get pregnant. Together, you’ll investigate the extent of your endometriosis and then start with minimally invasive options to see how your body responds. In many cases, a combination of treatments will help you achieve the pain-free experience that you hope for and any other fertility expectations.
Treatments might include:
- Pain medication: Typically, this will include over-the-counter pain relief such as NSAIDS (Advil) or naproxen sodium (Aleve). If these medicines don’t help with the pain, other options will be explored.
- Hormone therapy: This treatment varies and can include options such as taking birth control pills, progestin therapy, or treatments that block certain hormones.
- Surgery: For those wanting to conceive or to reduce surgical effects, laparoscopy is a type of surgery that removes the endometrial tissue areas while keeping all reproductive organs intact. For severe cases, it might be necessary to remove some or all reproductive organs, though we only use this treatment in the rarest situations.
- Fertility treatments: If you are trying to conceive, it might be a good idea to also work with a fertility specialist that can help you achieve a pregnancy and carry it to full term. This treatment would be a great pairing with traditional gynecological care.