More About Endometriosis

Endometriosis

can be difficult to treat or eliminate.  Unfortunately, many women who have this disease go undiagnosed. Others may receive incomplete or improper treatment, leaving them with severe pain that can interfere with daily activities, work, leisure and intimacy.  Without timely diagnosis and treatment, endometriosis can even leave a woman infertile.  The physician you choose and the method of therapy for treating this disease can make critical difference in the outcome.

Dr. Biggerstaff has dedicated over 30 years to diagnosing and treating endometriosis.

He is one of a few dozen physicians across the country who routinely excise deep invasive endometriosis. Some women come to Dr. Biggerstaff already knowing they have endometriosis, usually as a result of prior surgery. Others have symptoms or findings from a pelvic examination that strongly suggest the presence of endometriosis.

Endometriosis can cause pain, among pre-teen and teen-aged girls shortly after they begin menstruation; or among older women after hysterectomy; or, on occasion, after menopause.  Endometriosis is not the only source of pelvic pain but it is a major cause of it, and it affects millions of women worldwide.

Recent evidence shows an association between endometriosis and a type of ovarian cancer. This makes it all the more important to excise all visible endometriosis rather than simply superficially cauterizing it.

  

Endosalpingiosis 

is a condition similar in appearance and symptoms to endometriosis.  It differs from endometriosis in that microscopically the tissue looks like the inside of the fallopian tube, rather than like the lining of the uterus. Endosalpingiosis is diagnosed and treated the same way as endometriosis. This is another photo of endometriosis seen at the time of laparoscopy or laser surgery. Click to enlarge.

endometriosis2

 

What causes Endometriosis?

The cause of endometriosis is uncertain. Why some women develop endometriosis and not others is simply not known. There are several theories, but none of them explains all cases. Sampson’s theory suggests that menstrual flow backwards into the fallopian tubes and abdomen allows attachment and growth of endometrial tissue. Another theory notes the presence or absence of certain chemicals that may stimulate the growth of endometriosis cells from multi-potential cells (cells in the body that can become many different types of tissue). Still another theory holds that endometrial tissue may travel to areas outside the uterus through blood vessels or the lymph system. A great deal of medical research is looking at the effect of the immune system on the development of endometriosis.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

How do I know if I have endometriosis? Some women with endometriosis have no symptoms at all.  More common symptoms may include:

  • heavy menstrual flow
  • pain in the pelvis or low back before or during the menstrual period
  • severe menstrual cramps
  • pain on deep penetration with sex
  • pain during bowel movements, sometimes with diarrhea during menses
  • burning on urination, often during the menstrual cycle
  • infertility (difficulty becoming pregnant)

 

If I have pain or infertility, how do I know the cause is endometriosis?

A suspicion that you may have endometriosis is based on history and physical exam.  Unfortunately, ultrasound, CT, or MRI cannot consistently diagnose or exclude endometriosis.  The only way to diagnose and to determine the presence and amount of endometriosis is with laparoscopy. This is an outpatient surgical procedure done under general anesthesia. 
Dr. Biggerstaff inserts a small telescope-like instrument called a laparoscope through an incision in the navel to look at the organs in the abdomen and pelvic cavity.  With laparoscopy, the size, location, and number of endometrial growths can be seen.  If endometriosis is seen or suspected, the tissue is removed to confirm the diagnosis and to treat the condition.

 

The information provided by Advanced Healthcare for Women and E. Daniel Biggerstaff, III, M.D. is for informational purposes only. As each woman is unique, do not rely on this information for diagnosis and treatment. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the content and advise that you see a qualified Health Care Professional for individual needs and care.

 Advanced Healthcare for Women
5354 Reynolds Street, Suite 518
Candler Professional Building
Savannah, Georgia 31405
 
Telephone 912-355-7717
Fax 912-355-0979
gyndoc@bellsouth.net