Endometriosis

Learn important Endometriosis facts.  Have informed conversations with your clinician.

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What is Endometriosis?
Effecting 7-10 million US women, endometriosis occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium), is found outside of the womb, where the tissue should not be. As the tissue responds to the monthly fluctuations of a woman's menstrual cycle, inflammation occurs. Women often experience a decade-long delay in diagnosis. At this time, there is no known cause or cure.

Interview with Dr Tamer Seckin

Listen to our interview with world-renowned endometriosis surgeon, Dr Seckin, who gets real about the challenges with endometriosis and women must and can do.

Woman in Pain
What are typical Endometriosis Symptoms?
TRACK YOUR SYMPTOMS TO HELP YOUR DOCTOR HELP YOU
Pain in the pelvis, abdomen, or back
Painful cramps during menstruation
Heavy/long periods
Bleeding between menstrual cycles
Painful intercourse
Bladder problems
Bowel problems (diarrhea and constipation)
Abdominal bloating
Nausea and vomiting
Headaches
Chronic fatigue
Infertility
Recurrent miscarraige
Asymptomatic (i.e., silent endometriosis)

The Critical Role You Must Play

Due to the limited amount of knowledge and training in endometriosis, it has a tendency to be misdiagnosed and mistreated. This is why in order to choose the right doctor, it is crucial that patients themselves are knowledgeable about the condition.

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Where Endometriosis Can Grow in Your Body
And why the right team of surgeons is required should you decide on laparoscopic surgery
1.
Uterus
2.
Fallopian tubes
3.
Ovaries
4.
Uterosacral ligaments
5.
Peritoneum
6.
Spaces between the bladder, uterus, vagina, and rectum
7.
Bowel, intestines, appendix, or rectum
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The Impact of Endometriosis

Watch our founder and other women talk about the impact of endometriosis as seen on CBS This Morning.

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
1

Laparoscopic Surgery

Diagnostic laparoscopy is the only way to verify endometriosis. If found during the procedure, it can be removed at that time.  However,  it is the pathology report that provides ultimate confirmation via the biopsy specimens from surgery.  Given the complexity of endometriosis surgery, finding an expert is critical.

2

In-Office Exam /

Imaging Tests

Critical to know is doctors may conduct imaging tests like computed tomography (CT), magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or ultrasounds. While these, along with  pelvic and rectovaginal exams, may indicate suspicion of endometriosis (or miss signs of it), they cannot provide confirmation. It is, however, common to obtain a pelvic ultrasound and MRI before undergoing the laparoscopy.

3

Endometrial Biopsy

High levels of BCL6 indicates inflammation usually associated with endometriosis.  If trying to conceive, this limits the ability of the embryo to stick to the endometrial lining.  ReceptivaDx can accurately detect inflammatory conditions on the uterine lining likely to cause implantation issues. 

Find an Expert
Unfortunately, there are limited experts in endometriosis given that proper research is lacking, doctors receive minimal training, and it is a complex condition.  Check out this article that provides important details and helpful tips to inform your search.
 
Managing your Endometriosis Symptoms
Every patient will benefit differently from each treatment. What may work for one woman, may not for another. Endometriosis is a disease that still requires much more research and knowledge. It is crucial for each patient to trust her own judgment, work with her physician, and find the pain management strategy that works best for her if she decides to explore alternative treatment measures.
Treatments to Manage Your Symptoms
There is no magic pill, but there are options.  Educate yourself so you and your clinician can weigh the pros and cons to decide what's right for you. 

Medications/Supplements

1.
Birth Control Pill (BCP). A common treatment with some practitioners concerned about the hormones in BCP and thus masking rather than treating symptoms.
2.
Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Can alleviate pain, which is one of the most common endometriosis symptoms.
3.
Hormone (GnRH) therapy. Examples include LUPRON  DEPOT® and ORILISSA®, which supress estrogen  putting you into menopause.  While this drug may alleviate symptoms, it also come with side effects including bone loss and depression.
4.
Aromatase Inhibitors. Examples include letrozole, exemestane, anastrozole.  There are brand and generics available.  Similar to GnRH inhibitors, however, these suppress estrogen, put you in menopause and may cause bone density loss and depression.
5.
Progestin therapy.  Suppresses the growth of endometriosis lesions but does not suppress ovulation or estrogen.  Lara Briden prefers natural progesterone capsules, which have fewer side effects and work as effectively.
6.
Supplements. Typically, functional medicine doctors, some  acupuncturists, and nutritionists tend to be the ones trained on this area.  Ideal supplements are those that support your immune function and reduce inflammation.  If you can get these nutrients through food (including spices and herbs), even better.  

Lifestyle/Alternative

1.
Castor Oil Packs. Known to help with pain and stagnation. It is not safe to do if you are menstruating or. pregnant.  If you are trying to conceive, avoid after ovulation.  This is a good castor oil pack to purchase because all the materials you need come in the pack along with instructions.
2.
Maya Abdominal Massage. Best known for the correction of the prolapsed, fallen, or tilted uterus and for relief of many common digestive disorders. It is not safe to do if you are menstruating or. pregnant.  If you are trying to conceive, avoid after ovulation. Learn more here about the history of this technique and how to find a trained practitioner.
3.
Diet. Given estrogen triggers endometriosis, avoid estrogenic foods.  Also avoid those that cause inflammation and focus on those that support your immune function.  This means no cow's dairy and test if gluten free and egg free diets improve your symptoms.
4.
Acupuncture. It can help alleviate pain and discomfort in women, but as typical with women's health, more research is required.  Learn what Healthline has to say. 
5.
Toxins.  Endocrine-disrupting chemicals have been shown to have negative impact on endometriosis.  Much research is under way.  This is one recent published study.  Learn how to avoid toxins. 
What Women We Surveyed Had to Say
What conditions have you been diagnosed with?
62%
Had conditions other than endometriosis, such as PCOS and Hashimoto's
When do you experience pain?
80%
Experience pain both during their period and throughout their monthly cycle
How many medical professionals did you visit in order to be diagnosed with endometriosis?
5.2
On Average
Good Info in Your Inbox

© 2020 by FempowerHealth

Our content is for informational purposes only — it's not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.

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