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Endometriosis Basics

July 10th, 2015 - Posted to Gynecology

As any sufferer can tell you, endometriosis can cause pain and lasting medical consequences, including decreased fertility. The damage to a woman’s quality of life can be profound. But if you have the condition, there is reason for hope: infertility may be overcome and treatment is highly effective. So let’s go through a basic overview of endometriosis.

First of all, what is endometriosis? It is a condition in which the type of tissue that is normally found in the uterine lining, called the endometrium, appears outside the uterus. The most common locations are the lining surfaces of the pelvis-particularly in an area called the cul-de-sac — and the ovaries. When the disease affects the ovaries, cysts can form; these are called endometriomas.

Why does endometriosis happen? The exact cause is unknown. But the most likely cause, given the evidence we have, is that cells are present from birth and transform into endometriosis when hormones change. This tissue can inflame and invade the adjacent tissue where it is located, and it can produce compounds that make inflammation worse and can reduce fertility.

What are the main indicators of endometriosis? There are four classic symptoms:

  • Pain during menstruation, or dysmenorrhea
  • Pain during intercourse, or dyspareunia
  • Reduced fertility, or subfertility
  • Generalized pelvic pain

Other symptoms can develop depending on the location of the endometriosis, for example pain during bowel movements if located on the colon.

What can be done to treat endometriosis? There are many treatments. Only surgery, however, can get rid of the disease and symptoms, restore the anatomy to its normal state, improve fertility, and provide tissue samples to analyze.

Some surgery methods make it easier on the patient by reducing recovery time and lowering the risk of complication or negative side effects. We believe that minimally invasive surgery with the da Vinci Si robotic surgery system offers the best advantages to the doctor and patient. It gives surgeons considerable advantages:

  • Extremely clear three-dimensional vision, to better identify the diseased tissue
  • Intelligently designed, super-flexible instruments with "wrists" that enable very precise tissue removal, even in hard-to-reach places
  • Better-than-human precision when cutting, as well as quick cauterization of surgery wounds (which dramatically reduces blood loss), minimizing trauma and making a fast recovery more likely

The Minimally Invasive Surgical Institute at Marina Del Rey Hospital is proud to offer our patients robotically assisted laparoscopic excision of endometriosis.

I have endometriosis. What can I expect? In one survey, one in five women diagnosed with endometriosis reported no ill effects. Of women who had symptoms, 40% had improved pain when they took over-the-counter painkillers or birth-control pills, and that number rose when different medicines were used.

Surgical treatment was even more positive. After surgery, well over half of women said they were satisfied with the effect on their pain. And fertility was improved, too: three-quarters of the women who had been infertile had one or more biological children.

That's why we emphasize that if you've been diagnosed with endometriosis, chances are good that treatment will help. Are you interested to find out how we can help you beat endometriosis? Call us at 844-MISI-4-YOU for a consultation today.