Women's Health Texas – San Antonio

Ask a WHT Doctor: Treating Endometriosis

Ask a WHT Doctor: Treating Endometriosis

Ritu Dutta, MD, FACOG, MBA with Institute for Women’s Health answered questions about the symptoms of endometriosis and options for treatment.

What is endometriosis?

When the endometrial tissue occurs outside the normal location which is the uterine cavity, it is called endometriosis. Around 1.5 – 2% of the population is affected by endometriosis. Peak occurrence is in women ages 25-35.

What are the common signs and symptoms?

Women usually present symptoms during their reproductive years with pelvic pain, infertility issues or an ovarian mass. Other common symptoms are pain with menses, pain with intercourse and abnormal uterine bleeding. Less common complaints include bowel or bladder problems, low back pain, and chronic fatigue.

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

Although an endometrioma (also called a chocolate cyst of the ovary) can be diagnosed with ultrasound imaging, the definitive diagnosis is made via surgery. Laparoscopy can be performed that confirms the diagnosis. Endometriosis can be staged according to the severity of the disease through surgery. A presumed diagnosis can be made based on signs and symptoms and trial of treatment can be given to assess for analysis.

How is endometriosis treated?

Treatment includes medication or surgery, which is decided upon based on the severity of the symptoms. For mild to moderate pain – NSAIDs (such as Ibuprofen) and continuous hormonal contraception (oral contraceptive pills or OCPs) are the first line of care. For more severe symptoms, there are other options that can be discussed with your doctor. If there is no relief with medication, surgical management can be decided upon, taking into consideration factors such as the desire to conceive or has completed childbearing.

Are there good sources to learn more about this?

Some options include:

  • Talking to your Women’s Health Texas ObGyn about your symptoms and concerns.
  • Medical organizations that specialize in endometriosis topics, such as endometriosis.org and The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists at acog.org.