During monthly menstruation, the female body naturally sheds the endometrium (the clinical term for the lining of the uterus). In some women these menstrual fluids leak back into the body in areas outside of the uterus. Just like the endometrial tissue in the uterus, this tissue cycles every month based on hormonal fluctuations. As a woman’s hormones change approaching her period this tissue grows, menstruates and sheds. Then, because the tissue has no way to exit her body, it accumulates on the bladder, bowel, top of the vagina (the “cul de sac”), or other reproductive organs, leading to the development of fibroids and scarring. This causes symptoms that vary from severe cramping to chronic pelvic pain, dysmenorrhea (severe painful periods), infertility, pain with sex (dyspareunia), painful bowel movements, and rectal pain.
A common myth about endometriosis is that the more endometrial cells accumulate in the body outside of the uterine cavity, the more pain it causes the woman. However, situations do vary. Moderate growth can trigger intense pain in some women while advanced growth causes less severe pain in others. Every woman’s situation is unique and therefore expert medical evaluation is absolutely essential.
The profound, agonizing pain caused by endometriosis is very treatable, and in many cases curable. Often, women “manage” the pain for years with powerful painkillers and birth control medications, but these only mask symptoms of the disease. Many patients are misled by their doctors to believe that the only long-term solution is removal of all female reproductive organs. This dangerous misconception in the medical field has led to thousands of unnecessary hysterectomies. Advanced Laparoscopic Excision Surgery is an effective, less invasive option, and is only performed by the most highly trained, specialized surgeons.
View our Endometriosis Video Q&A.