More than 10% of women of reproductive age in the United States have endometriosis, a chronic condition that causes the lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus itself. Besides causing chronic pelvic pain that can interfere with daily life, endometriosis can also affect a woman’s ability to become pregnant. At Caceres Specialized Gynecology in Kissimmee and Celebration, Florida, board-certified gynecologist Dr. Aileen Caceres and her team provide comprehensive treatment solutions for women with endometriosis. To learn more, call your nearest office or book an appointment online today.
Endometriosis is a gynecological disorder that occurs when the membrane that normally lines the inside of the uterus, called endometrium, grows outside of the organ. Although it can affect girls as young as 15, most cases are diagnosed in women who are in their thirties and forties.
The problem can cause endometrium to form on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outer surface of the uterus, or any of the tissues that line the pelvis. Displaced endometrium tissues are referred to as implants.
Even though they occur outside the uterus, endometrium implants still act normally, which means they thicken, break down, and bleed with every menstrual cycle.
Because endometrium implants have no way to leave the body, however, they often lead to scar tissue, ovarian cysts, and other adhesions. Women with endometriosis may experience:
Besides causing persistent pelvic pain that can be difficult to manage, endometriosis can also lead to significant fertility problems. Endometriosis makes it harder to become pregnant because it causes chronic inflammation that damages eggs and interferes with sperm mobility.
It’s estimated that nearly half of all women with endometriosis have difficulty becoming pregnant, and about 40% of women who have been diagnosed with infertility have endometriosis.
Women with mild to moderate endometriosis often opt to have children sooner rather than later, largely because the condition can worsen over time.
To diagnose endometriosis, Dr. Caceres and her team perform a comprehensive physical exam to investigate the possible causes of pelvic pain. The exam may include lab tests to find out if you have a sexually transmitted infection, blood work to assess your blood cell counts, and a urinalysis to check for infection in your urinary tract.
If Dr. Caceres suspects you have endometriosis, she may perform laparoscopy surgery, a minimally invasive procedure that allows her to better view your pelvic organs and look for abnormal tissues. She’s the only gynecologist in the region who uses Firefly™ fluorescence imaging, an advanced, FDA-cleared technology that helps diagnose early-stage endometriosis.
Endometriosis can’t be cured, but it can be managed successfully with the right approach. Mild cases can often be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and continued monitoring. To keep the condition from progressing, hormonal birth control may be prescribed.
Extended cycle or continuous cycle hormonal birth control, both of which are available in pill form or as an injection, can slow the growth of endometrial tissues and prevent new adhesions from forming. They can also help treat pelvic pain and stop irregular uterine bleeding.
More severe cases of endometriosis may require resection surgery. Dr. Caceres and her team use highly advanced robotic surgery to laparoscopically remove displaced endometrial tissues for long-term pain relief and improved fertility. Because the disorder often redevelops over time, taking hormonal medications after surgery can help delay its return.
To learn more or to schedule a visit, call your nearest office or make an appointment online today.