What is Endometriosis?
Medical experts estimate that as many as one in 10 women of reproductive age — roughly between ages 15-49 — struggle with endometriosis. If you’re experiencing painful periods, heavy bleeding, or pelvic pain, schedule an endometriosis evaluation with William McIntosh, MD, or Lisa McIntosh, MD, at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville right away. You can book an appointment at this Clarksville, Tennessee, OB/GYN practice by calling the office.
Frequently Asked Questions
What causes endometriosis?
With a normal menstrual cycle, your uterine lining (endometrium) thickens with anticipation for cushioning a fertilized egg. If you don’t become pregnant, that lining sheds and you have a menstrual period. When you have endometriosis though, you start developing endometrial tissue on the outside of your uterus.
This displaced tissue acts just like it would if it were in the right place — on the inside of your uterus. But because endometrial tissue has no way to exit your body, when you have your periods, it stays trapped and can start irritating surrounding tissues and reproductive organs. This is endometriosis.
Your risk of suffering from endometriosis increases if you’ve never given birth. Endometriosis cases are also higher among women who have:
- Immune system disorders
- Low body mass index (BMI)
- Abnormally high levels of estrogen
- Heavy periods that last longer than a week
- Menstrual cycles that last less than 27 days
- Retrograde menstruation where endometrial cells flow back into the fallopian tubes
Endometriosis is even more likely to occur if you started your period at a younger age, or if you go through menopause at an older age.
When should I see an OB/GYN for endometriosis?
One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is pelvic pain, which can become severe either during your regular periods or during ovulation (sometimes both). The dedicated OB/GYNs at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville encourage you to come in for an evaluation if you’re experiencing pelvic pain or any of the following issues.
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Difficulty getting or staying pregnant
- Discomfort while passing bowel movements or urinating
- Periods that are so heavy, you have to get up at night to change a pad or tampon
These symptoms can start lowering your quality of life if left untreated, so it’s important to visit Women’s Health Center of Clarksville as soon as your symptoms begin.
Do I need treatment for endometriosis?
Yes, and at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville, you can meet with a board-certified OB/GYN who thoroughly evaluates you and talks with you about all treatment paths that may help. Treating endometriosis can include:
- Hormone therapy, such as birth control pills, to help shrink endometrial tissue
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) for pain
- Aromatase inhibitors to decrease your estrogen levels
If you’re struggling with infertility or if you have a severe case of endometriosis, your dedicated OB/GYN at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville could recommend minimally invasive gynecologic surgery, such as a da Vinci® robotic procedure. They can remove endometriosis implants and leave your uterus and ovaries intact, so you can get relief from endometriosis and improve your fertility (if needed).
Book your endometriosis evaluation at Women’s Health Center of Clarksville today. Call the office to speak with a team member.