Endometriosis Specialists in Chicago IL
Endometriosis affects one in 10 women in the United States, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America. At Lake Shore OBGYN we are Chicago’s expert in alleviating pain and improving quality of life in women with endometriosis associated pain. We are experienced in diagnosing and treating endometriosis and offer effective treatments and testing methods, including pelvic laparoscopies, transvaginal ultrasounds, and pelvic exams. Our surgical approach of radical resection has helped women in Chicago & Hinsdale and surrounding areas achieve a pain free life.
What is Endometriosis?
Typically the inner lining of the uterus is shed with each menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is a condition that occurs in women when the inner uterus lining starts to grow outside of the uterus, behind the uterus, on the bowels, or on the bladder. This results in the appearance of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, which causes pelvic pain. Endometriosis is most commonly diagnosed among women in their 30s and 40s, but the onset of the condition typically starts during reproductive years.
Your gynecologist can help diagnose your symptoms as endometriosis and determine the best treatment for you.
What Causes Endometriosis?
There are multiple theories over the root causes of endometriosis.
The older theories of the spreading of cells from the uterus via the lymph nodes and blood vessels do not seem to be supported by any factual evidence. Furthermore, we know that endometrial cells from the uterus go into the pelvis during menstruation. This process is called retrograde menstruation. Because it happens so often and relatively few women have endometriosis, there must be factors at work other than retrograde menstruation. These other factors include alterations in inflammatory processes, immunologic dysfunction, and various genetic factors.
What are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?
The most common symptoms that women experience if they have endometriosis include pain, spotting in between periods, heavy periods, infertility, and digestive problems. Not all women experience symptoms, but pain is the most common symptom and can be:
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Chronic pelvic pain the lower abdomen or intestines
- Chronic fatigue
- Pain during or after sex
- Painful bowel movements or pain when urinating during menstrual periods
- Longer and heaver menstruation
Pain from endometriosis is caused by the benign growth of the endometrial lining. These growths bleed in the same way as your uterus during your period. Other problems can result such as your fallopian tubes being blocked, inflammation, and scar tissue around your uterus, intestines, or bladder.
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
In addition to discussing your symptoms with your gynecologist, he or she may suggest another exam to diagnosis endometriosis. During a pelvic exam, your gynecologist may be able to feel for large cysts or scars behind your uterus. An ultrasound or MRI may also be done by our team to check for ovarian cysts.
Surgery is the only way to confirm that you have endometriosis. Your gynecologist may perform a laparoscopic procedure to see or biopsy the endometriosis growths.
How is Endometriosis Managed and Treated?
Endometriosis treatments depend on the condition’s severity. Since there is no cure for endometriosis, talk with your gynecologist about your situation and the best endometriosis management options for you. Because some treatments can end your fertility, one consideration is if you want to have children in the future.
- If you are not trying to get pregnant, hormonal birth control is usually the first step to help reduce pain and bleeding. Hormone therapy is also used in some cases to balance and regulate the hormones that can worsen endometriosis.
- If you are trying to get pregnant there are other hormonal medications that may help treat endometriosis. When birth control isn’t an option, pain medications may also be suggested for your symptoms. Some of the medications are anti-inflammatory and will focus on reducing inflammation and pain.
- Surgery is typically recommended only when symptoms are very severe, other treatments haven’t worked, or you are having infertility problems. During surgery, the endometriosis growths are removed, which provides short term relief from pain.
If you’re experiencing severe pelvic pain related to your period, are having problems with infertility, or suffer from heavy periods, schedule an appointment to talk us at Lake Shore OBGYN about endometriosis today at (312) 943-3300.