By Abayomi Ajayi
SYmptoms may include one or more chronic or intermittent pelvic pain: dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation); infertility; painful sexual intercourse and bowel movements; fatigue; heavy or irregular bleeding; pain during ovulation; gastrointestinal problems; painful urination and lower back pain.
For practical purposes, endometriosis can only be diagnosed through surgery. Ultrasounds, MRI’s, and CAT scans are not conclusive when diagnosing endometriosis. A physician will usually study the history of symptoms and decide whether a surgical procedure is needed to make a diagnosis.
Hormonal drug therapy is used to ward off symptoms and is often most effective when used after surgical treatment has been done.
Where necessary, conservative surgery is used to diagnose, remove growths, relieve pain, and increase the chances of pregnancy. Conservative surgery is usually done through a laparoscopy or a laparatomy. In some cases, a more radical surgery such as a hysterectomy is recommended for treating endometriosis.
Is there a cure?
The short answer is no. There is not a cure for endometriosis, but there is treatment to help women manage and deal with their symptoms. The treatment includes pain medication. Some over-the-counter pain medications such as aspirin, acetaminophen, and ibuprofen may lessen the discomfort for women when dealing with endometriosis. Prescription medication may be needed if the pain does not respond to over-the-counter drugs. For some women pregnancy can lessen the symptoms and effects.
Contrary to belief, a hysterectomy is not the cure for endometriosis, but it can make a difference for some women. There is no known prevention at this time and medical research is yet to come up with a conclusive reason why women get endometriosis; hence there is yet to be a way to prevent it from occurring.
Endometriosis of the ovary represents a special category of the disease, which responds to medical treatment rather poorly, and thus in infertility patients it must be always removed surgically. Most of the time the laparoscopic approach is sufficient, but sometimes regular open surgery is necessary to ensure the best results. In some patients the disease is best dealt with by surgery combined with medical therapy.
In some patients the endometriosis is quite aggressive and symptoms may return over a period of time even if treated properly.