According to the Office on Women’s Health, a division of the US Department of Health and Human Services, over five million women in the United States have been diagnosed with endometriosis. Even more women have it but remain undiagnosed because the symptoms are often similar to other ailments such as PMS, PCOS and Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). If you believe you or a loved one may be suffering from endometriosis, finding proper treatment is essential to your comfort and future fertility.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition where the lining of the uterus grows elsewhere in the pelvis. Because it’s not contained in the uterus, it cannot be shed during menses. Some women may not even notice the pain and bloating this causes, because they write off the symptoms as simply having ‘bad’ periods. Other women are so affected that they are bedbound a few days a month. Many women are somewhere in the middle, experiencing discomfort but thinking it cannot be helped.
Who Do I See for Diagnosis and Treatment?
Your first stop should be a gynecologist’s office. The practitioner may want to order tests to ensure your symptoms aren’t being caused by another issue such as fibroids, cysts or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). Endometriosis can be difficult to find at first and is usually diagnosed via laparoscopic surgery after all other potential causes have been ruled out.
As for who will continue your care, this depends a lot on your geographical area and the focus of the healthcare professionals available to you. For example, in large cities it’s not at all uncommon for some OBGYNs to focus solely on labor and delivery, while others focus on female reproductive problems and still others focus on treating specific diseases and syndromes. In smaller towns, an OBGYN may treat all gynecologic issues and only make referrals if they feel your case is out of their scope of practice.
Do I Need a Specialist?
If the care you’re receiving is not helping or you are experiencing ongoing infertility due to your endometriosis, it might be time to consider a specialist. If your current doctor is unable or unwilling to make a referral, you may need to strike out on your own to find treatment.
If you or a loved one is suffering with endometriosis, contact South Lake Obstetrics & Gynecology today for a consultation. Living with the pain and bloating isn’t acceptable, and endometriosis also affects your future fertility. If you or someone you know needs treatment for endometriosis, delaying that treatment is never a good plan.