Endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs where parts of the endometrial lining is forming outside of the uterus instead of on the inside. It can cause infertility in addition to being extremely painful. Here are some things to know about this condition.
The Main Symptom is Pain
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pain. Often referred to as an invisible condition, you might not have any idea that you have endometriosis unless you see a doctor for your severe cramps and they are able to rule out other conditions. With endometriosis, the pain can range from menstrual cramps that seem extremely severe, debilitating pain in the middle of your cycle, or lingering cramps that don't seem to get any better. You may also experience pain during intercourse, pain of the pelvis and lower back, or heavy periods.
Your Doctor Needs to Perform a Laparoscopy
While your gynecologist can sometimes look at your symptoms and perform other diagnostic tests, the only sure way to give a firm diagnosis of endometriosis is to perform a laparoscopic procedure. During this procedure, the doctor is able to see the uterus and lining, and find out if it is indeed growing outside the uterus. This is not something your doctor is able to see with just an ultrasound, though they can look for other signs of you possibly having this condition. Keep in mind if you start seeing a local bulk-billing medical centre for your cramping and bleeding, and they think you might have endometriosis, you might need to visit a specialist.
The Treatment Options Vary
You may come to a point when you can't handle the pain and want to get treatment for it. First of all, you should note that even if your doctor can remove some of the endometrial lining causing the pain, it may grow back. This is a chronic condition that doesn't have a cure. However, if the lining is causing infertility and you want to become pregnant, the temporary treatment can be enough to help you get pregnant before it grows back. Treatments include hormonal therapy and surgery to remove the lining. In more severe cases, a hysterectomy is the only viable treatment option. This is usually saved for women who no longer want to have children or who have decided to have it because the pain is simply too much to bare.
You can usually take pain relief medications to lessen the cramping from endometriosis, but this will have no effect on infertility. If you are having bad cramping and difficulty getting pregnant naturally, talk to your gynecologist about getting tested for endometriosis. When you are using Medicare, go to the bulk-billing centre first, then ask about being referred to a gynecologist specialising in infertility conditions.