Endometriosis is a condition when the cells normally present in the lining of the uterus grow outside the uterine cavity, most commonly in the pelvic region. Influenced by hormonal changes, these endometrial cells, or lesions, are estimated to affect 10% of women during their reproductive years.
It is still not exactly certain what causes the condition, but it is found on the ovaries, on or around the uterus, on or near the fallopian tubes or on the bladder or bowel.
It is not always easy to diagnose endometriosis as some women might present with no symptoms at all. Dr Farjo may rely on pelvic examination and ultrasound to help determine if endometriosis is present. However, the only conclusive diagnosis is made via performing a surgical procedure called a laparoscopy.
Otherwise known as Minimally Invasive Surgery (MIS) or keyhole surgery, this procedure – done under general anaesthesia – involves an operation within the abdomen or pelvic cavities. Using a small telescope, the endometriosis can be seen directly through a small incision and usually is excised to confirm the diagnosis.
If untreated, endometriosis can remain either a relatively minor condition, or it can worsen over time. In some cases, it can lead to infertility or affect major organs such as the bladder or bowel.
Some women may not experience any symptoms at all. In others, symptoms will vary in severity from woman to woman. These include:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Period pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
The symptoms may affect your quality of life and lead to social and psychological effects.
While there is no cure for endometriosis, it can be managed in a number of ways:
- Non-surgical treatments:
– Hormonal treatments (oral contraceptive pill or Mirena intra uterine device)
– Non hormonal treatments like medications to manage the symptoms such as chronic pelvic pain
- Alternative therapies such as physiotherapy and acupuncture.
Following your examination Dr Farjo will discuss the management options with you and tailor a solution to suit your needs.
For further information please refer to Endometriosis Australia