Endometriosis & Chronic Pelvic Pain

Understanding Endometriosis

Many women suffer from endometriosis, a disorder in which tissue resembling the inner lining of the uterus (the endometrium) appears at unusual locations outside the uterus. Endometrial tissues outside the uterus respond to hormones like the endometrium does. During the menstrual cycle, hormones signal the lining of the uterus to grow and thicken to prepare for pregnancy. If there is no pregnancy, hormone levels decrease and cause the endometrium to break down. These hormones may cause the tissue growing outside the uterus to break down and bleed causing mild to severe pain. Scar tissue may grow around the area contributing to infertility. There are several treatments for endometriosis that include, hormone therapy, medication for relief of pain and surgery to remove the scar tissue. When endometriosis is so severe or recurs, the patient may need to consider a hysterectomy and oophoredomy (removal of the ovaries, fallopian tubes and uterus.) Remember, if one therapy does not work, another can be tried. Symptoms of endometriosis almost always disappear completely with menopause or if the ovaries are removed. If surgery is needed, talk with your doctor before the operation. Be sure that you understand what is involved.

Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP)

Chronic Pelvic Pain (CPP) is very common in women. However, the reason for the pain is often hard to identify. The source of this pain may be a condition known as Interstitial Cystitis (IC). IC is a chronic bladder condition that is difficult to diagnose. It is usually associated with pain in the lower abdomen, pelvic area, or thighs and is easy to confuse with other medical conditions, such as urinary tract infections and endometriosis. Do you experience:

  • Sudden urges to use the bathroom?
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom during the day or night?
  • Chronic pain in bladder, pelvis, and/or vaginal area, or lower stomach region?
  • Frequent urinary tract infections?

If you experience any of the symptoms above, you may have IC.