Managing Endometriosis Is Possible with Advanced Treatment and Surgical Options

Woman in home with strong stomach menstruation pain
Posted at 8:28 AM, Apr 25, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-25 08:28:25-04

LANSING, Mich. — More than 6 million women in the United States are experiencing the pain and discomfort of endometriosis, but thanks to advanced treatment options, McLaren Greater Lansing physicians can help manage symptoms and remove the tissue that causes it.

The pain that endometriosis causes stems from tissue that grows outside of the uterus or other areas outside where it is not supposed to be. “The endometrial tissue can sit on areas like the bowels, pelvis, or ovaries, causing pain in the abdomen, as well as pain during periods and intercourse, and painful voiding,” said Rochelle Hughes, DO, OBGYN at McLaren Greater Lansing Women’s Health in Grand Ledge and DeWitt.

Diagnosing endometriosis starts with a visit to your doctor to discuss your symptoms. Having a tissue sample taken through a minimally-invasive laparoscopic procedure is the only way to confirm suspicions of endometriosis. “We use a thin tube inserted through a very small incision to look inside the abdomen and take a sample of tissue,” said Dr. Hughes. “We then analyze the tissue under a microscope to determine if it is endometrial tissue.”

Unlike other health problems, endometriosis cannot be prevented. It typically develops in women between the ages of 20 and 40. Thankfully, there are ways to minimize the effects through continued treatment. One option is a simple birth control pill that can help calm the tissue outside of the uterus. “Pain is caused when the endometrial lining sheds during the menstrual cycle,” said Dr. Hughes. “Birth control can help prevent that cycle, which stops the shedding and pain.”

Endometriosis patients are also seeing benefits from a new medication called Orlissa. “The spread of endometriosis can be reduced with Orlissa,” said Dr. Hughes. “The medicine can help alleviate pain from endometriosis, as well as pain with intercourse.”

Advanced surgical options are also available to help women with endometriosis. A doctor can perform a minimally-invasive procedure that uses heat to eliminate the endometrial tissue. This option allows women to continue to have children, and physicians typically see an increased rate of pregnancy following the surgery. For women who are not planning to become pregnant in the future, a full hysterectomy to remove the uterus and ovaries is also an option.

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