Dr. Aaron Campbell and the staff of Brenham Women’s Health specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic pelvic pain disorders including endometriosis. This may include hormonal treatment and minimally invasive surgery. Please schedule a visit if you are struggling with chronic pelvic pain or endometriosis.
Endometriosis Q & A
by Aaron Campbell, MD, FACOG
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial cells that are normally found inside the uterus begin to grow outside of the uterus. They’re most commonly found in the abdominal cavity and act just like the cells within the uterus that slough off and die each month. The cell’s monthly cycle of dying away and bleeding can cause several problems if it occurs outside of the uterus. The falling away and bleeding of the cells can cause scar tissue to develop in areas where it can begin to cause extreme pelvic pain and discomfort. As the lesions grow and the scar tissue begins to spread it can begin to fuse together tissues within the abdominal cavity causing intense pain, inflammation, and other reproductive issues.
What are possible treatment options?
Because endometriosis follows along with a woman’s monthly cycle, the doctor may opt to put the woman into a menopausal state. This is accomplished by using certain hormones and medications to block or counteract the production of estrogen. When the periods stop, the internal bleeding of the endometrial lesions will also cease. If the woman still wants to have children, the doctor may perform a laparoscopic procedure to remove the lesions and scar tissue. If the woman is finished having children, Dr. Campbell may recommend a hysterectomy to stop the current symptoms and prevent the condition from returning several years down the road.
Can endometriosis affect a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a child?
Once endometriosis begins to appear, the condition will continue to worsen. With more and more lesions and scar tissue forming, the risk of infertility becomes a reality. The more scar tissue present in the abdominal cavity, the more difficult it is for the ovary to be released and travel through the fallopian tubes and into the uterus. Even if the egg becomes fertilized, the chances of it developing are dramatically reduced due to the uterus’ inability to accommodate its growing size. Endometriosis may also begin to affect the ovaries and how they produce and release hormones. If the ovaries become too damaged, they may not be able to function at all, causing other reproductive issues.