The Doctor Is In: Women living with endometriosis - Tucson Local Media: The Doctor Is In

The Doctor Is In: Women living with endometriosis

Font Size:
Default font size
Larger font size

Thomas Waliser, M.D.

Posted: Wednesday, June 27, 2012 10:04 am

As many as 5.5 million women in North America experience symptoms of endometriosis, a chronic gynecological disease that ranks as one of the top three causes of infertility in women.

Though there is no known cure, a combination of hormone therapy and surgery can reduce infertility and decrease the severity of painful symptoms related to endometriosis.

Endometriosis occurs when the endometrial tissues that line the uterus begin to grow outside the uterus. The abnormal growth of these tissues can cause pain as the body cannot expel menstrual blood cells and tissue as it normally would during the cycle. Most women with the condition are diagnosed after persistent symptoms for two or more years. Endometriosis causes abdominal cramping, pelvic and lower back pain, heavy periods, and has been linked to increased infertility rates.

Only a doctor with access to advanced tools, including laparoscopy, ultrasound, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), will be able to diagnosis endometriosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.

Little is known about the causes of endometriosis. Researchers have explored multiple theories which, alone or in combination, may cause endometriosis. Some research centers on a possible link between heredity and endometriosis. For example, doctors believe women who have a family history of endometriosis are more likely to develop the disease. Other studies involve the connection between immunity, environment and the body’s response to tissues growing outside the uterus. Regardless of theories being explored, it is widely believed that higher levels of the hormone estrogen contribute to endometriosis; therefore symptoms are most severe during a woman’s peak childbearing years, and tend to diminish just as periods stop with the onset of menopause.

There is no known cure for endometriosis, but there are many approaches to care and treatment that can ease the discomfort associated with symptoms. For mild symptoms, your doctor may recommend an over-the-counter anti-inflammatory (NSAID) or pain-relieving medication, either alone or in conjunction with specialized hormone therapy. A non-drug treatment is laparoscopy, a minor, outpatient surgical procedure used to diagnosis and remove endometrial growths. A minor incision is made in the abdomen, and doctors are able to view internal organs and the presence of endometriosis outside the uterus. In some unusual cases, a hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) may be considered as a last resort, only for women who have no plans to become pregnant, and whose endometriosis has already damaged the reproductive organs. Some studies suggest that regular exercise and avoiding excessive caffeine consumption can reduce the risk of developing endometriosis and may help manage symptoms in some patients.

If you have endometriosis, occasional episodes of severe pain may cause you to cancel social activities, interfering with relationships or frustrating your plans. While there is no cure, there are many ways to lessen the impact of endometriosis symptoms, allowing you to continue activities that contribute to a satisfying, enjoyable life.

If your symptoms are not severe, you may be able to keep discomfort from interfering with your life through awareness of your menstrual cycle and careful use of anti-inflammatory medications. In more severe cases, a doctor’s care or surgery may be necessary. Either way, there are options available to help you identify treatments and enjoy regular activities.



What: As many as 5.5 million women in North America have symptoms of endometriosis.

The Symptoms: Adominal cramping, pelvic and lower back pain, heavy periods, and increased infertility.

(Editor’s Note: Thomas Waliser, M.D., is a gynecological surgeon  with Northwest Allied Physicians.  His can be reached at 742-1565.)

© 2017 Tucson Local Media. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Welcome to the discussion.

Oro Valley Audiology

Oro Valley AudiologyAddress: 2542 E Vistoso Commerce Loop Rd, Oro Valley, AZ 85755Phone:(520) ...

Wednesday 09/03/2014

Six steps to a shorter hospital stay 

Wednesday 08/21/2013

The Doctor Is In: Give your baby a healthy start

Wednesday 07/17/2013

The Doctor Is In: Feeling Restless? It might not be “in your head”

Wednesday 06/05/2013

The Doctor Is In: Start early to prevent heart disease

Wednesday 05/01/2013

The Doctor Is In: It’s never too late to start taking care of your bones and joints

Wednesday 03/20/2013

The Doctor Is In: Colorectral cancer: Screening is the key

Wednesday 03/06/2013

The Doctor Is In: Diagnosing your heart health

Friday 02/22/2013

The Dentist is in: The work to make smiles brighter

Wednesday 01/23/2013

The Doctor Is In: Understanding food allergies in an active lifestyle

Wednesday 01/16/2013

The Dentist Is In: Why do I have bad breath? The Doctor Is In: The connection between psoriasis and arthritis

Wednesday 12/26/2012

The Doctor is In - Steps to overcoming infertility

Wednesday 12/19/2012

The Dentist Is In: The connection between the health of your mouth and the health of your body

Wednesday 11/21/2012

The Dentist Is In: A broken tooth can ruin any good meal The Doctor Is In: ’Tis the Season - How to keep off the extra pounds

Wednesday 11/14/2012

The Doctor Is In: Endometriosis: The pain is treatable if the disease is correctly diagnosed

Tuesday 11/06/2012

The Doctor Is In: Play it smart - Sports physicals can save lives

Wednesday 10/31/2012

The Doctor Is In: Advice: Breast cancer screening saves lives

Wednesday 10/10/2012

The Doctor is in: Dementia: Alzheimer’s or something else?

Wednesday 09/19/2012

The Doctor Is In: The West Nile Virus, precautions advised

Wednesday 09/05/2012

The Doctor Is In: Arthritis can strike any age

Wednesday 08/29/2012

The Doctor is in: Controlling varicose veins

Tuesday 08/14/2012

The Doctor Is In - Chronic stress can lead to chronic health conditions

Wednesday 08/08/2012

The Doctor Is In: COPD - It is preventable

Wednesday 08/01/2012

The Doctor Is In: Weight-loss surgery sheds pounds, improves health

Wednesday 07/25/2012

The Doctor is In: What to do when the wounds just won’t heal

Wednesday 07/18/2012

The doctor is in: Sleep: Good health is related to quality and quantity of slumber

Wednesday 06/27/2012

The Doctor Is In: Women living with endometriosis

Wednesday 06/13/2012

The Doctor Is In: Arthritis: Common types and treatments

Wednesday 06/06/2012

The Doctor Is In: Summer safety is important

Wednesday 05/09/2012

The Doctor Is In - How to understand your food allergies

Wednesday 05/02/2012

The Doctor Is In - Preventing cancer starts with the annual Pap test

Wednesday 04/11/2012

The Doctor Is In - How to help your kids avoid Type 2 Diabetes

Wednesday 04/04/2012

The Doctor is in: Leg pain signals heart trouble

Wednesday 03/14/2012

The Doctor Is In - Hit the hay for heart health

Wednesday 03/07/2012

The Doctor Is In: Getting headaches regularly? Is it time to see a doctor?

Wednesday 02/29/2012

The Doctor Is In - ADHD - Can the disorder be treated without medication?

Wednesday 02/22/2012

The Doctor Is In - Vitamin C: What it does, why you need it, where to find it

Wednesday 02/08/2012

The Doctor Is In - Depression: Don’t dismiss the blues

Wednesday 01/04/2012

The Doctor is In - Prediabetes: Obesity and diabetes share common risks and solutions

Wednesday 12/28/2011

The Doctor is In: Cold or allergy? How to tell the difference

Wednesday 12/21/2011

The Doctor is In: Steering kids away from salt

Wednesday 12/14/2011

The Doctor is In - Information on Childhood obesity

Friday 12/02/2011

The Doctor Is In - Don’t Be Down for the Count this Year: Cold and Flu Facts


Follow us on Facebook

Online poll