By: Dr. Kelly Kennedy
Did you know that approximately one in ten women of reproductive age experience endometriosis? Endometriosis is a condition in which the type of tissue that forms in the lining inside the uterus is found outside of the uterus. When this happens, it causes a change in the hormone estrogen which can cause pelvic pain, heavy and painful menses, painful intercourse, and interference in normal bladder and bowel function.
Endometriosis also can lead to infertility. Almost 40 percent of women with infertility also have endometriosis. Because endometriosis causes inflammation, it can cause scarring in the pelvis as well as damage to the fallopian tubes.
Although it is a serious condition, rest assured you have options in seeking relief, and we are here to help. Here are a few ways to treat endometriosis including dietary changes, medications, and surgery.
Because estrogen imbalance and inflammation are significant factors in endometriosis, using diet changes can aid in hormone balance and help women find relief from their symptoms. Try adopting an anti-inflammatory diet rich in vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower,cabbage, kale, bok choy, arugula, brussels sprouts, collards, watercress and radishes, healthy fats and foods low in sugar. Turmeric and ginger have also been shown to decrease inflammation and pain.
Your physician may prescribe anti-inflammatory pain relievers or hormonal medications, such as birth control pills or an IUD to help reduce pain and prevent endometriosis from getting worse. However, these medications do not get rid of the already-existing endometriosis tissue.
While surgery is not the first line of treatment, it may be done to aid in pain relief and improve fertility. However, a drawback is that about 40-80 percent of women experience pain again within two years of surgery, which is why other methods are encouraged first. A hysterectomy is not a treatment for endometriosis. Again, there are plenty of other options that are considered before surgery.
If you think you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis, call your Women’s Health Specialists physician to schedule a pelvic exam at (920) 749-4000.