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Why are women needlessly suffering with endometriosis?

Question: Why are women needlessly suffering with endometriosis? 

Answer from Dr. Daniel Gruber, urogynecologist from Sibley Memorial Hospital in Washington D.C., part of John Hopkins medicine.

This is a very complicated and a very good question. Before answering it, keep in mind another condition called adenomyosis, which happens when the tissue lining of the uterus gets into the muscle of the uterus. Endometriosis is where the lining of that tissue gets into the abdominal cavity. 

That uterine tissue is extremely sensitive to hormonal fluctuations throughout the menstrual cycle. So, during the time of a period, that tissue dies and sloughs off. However, if it’s in the muscle, or if it’s inside the abdomen, it can be very painful. 

It’s a very, very common problem. A general OB/GYN is definitely your best source to begin treatment, because they work with this condition so frequently. And there are lots of treatment options. There’s different medications, including frequent new medications. In the last couple years, there have been several new medications that can help with endometriosis. 

There are some people who are also specialists in endometriosis in some of the larger cities. I don’t personally specialize in this, but there’s lots of people around who I would definitely send a patient to who have tried some of the basic things, but maybe isn’t getting any relief from them. 

There’s also surgical options which can be very helpful. Often a diagnostic laparoscopy is used, where you take a scope to look in the belly and sometimes take biopsies. Sometimes removing those areas of endometriosis that are seen can actually be quite helpful for people. 

Additionally, stress and anxiety can make these problems worse so as always, it’s very important to get that in control as well. Whether it’s therapy, meditation exercises, yoga, or something else that works for you, definitely pursue it.

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