Endometriosis Can Be a Painful Puzzle to Solve 

Understanding key symptoms points to proper diagnosis and treatment

1902899966DAYTON, Ohio (July 11, 2019) – For many women, the path to getting a diagnosis for the disorder known as endometriosis can seem to be almost as painful as the symptoms themselves.  
Though often misunderstood, women should know that they are not alone in their quest for answers and that there is hope to properly identify and treat the issues surrounding this condition.
“Almost 60 percent of the women who come to see me have been to three or more doctors before finally getting a diagnosis of endometriosis,” said Larry J. Holland, DO, an obstetrician and gynecologist with Premier Women’s Center. “And more than 60 percent say that one or more physicians in the past had told them that there's nothing wrong.”
A delay in the diagnosis can actually lead to years of suffering for women who are seeking answers. Having a clearer understanding about the condition can help women find relief faster. Endometriosis is a disorder in which tissue, similar to what's inside the lining of the uterus, grows outside of the uterine cavity. This tissue can grow anywhere within the body, in places such as the lungs, bowels, bladder, and even in the eyes or healed incisions.
“Basically, every time a woman has her menstrual cycle, the hormonal changes that normally occur during this time will activate this tissue wherever it is located. This causes it to become inflamed and extremely painful,” said Dr. Holland, who practices with Premier Physician Network.
Symptoms can vary depending upon the location of the tissue. However, pain is the common denominator among sufferers.  Dr. Holland said about 4.1 million women suffer from endometriosis along with a significant number who haven’t even been diagnosed yet. Achieving a proper diagnosis can take time; the pain often varies depending upon the location of the tissue and its ability to mimic other problems. Though this is certainly a cause for frustration, there are clues that women can look for to point them in the right direction.
“If you've had chronic pain that always seems to get worse around the time of your menstrual cycle, and you've tried certain medications in the past and they've worked for a short period of time but then the pain seems to return, it might be a very good time to consult with your gynecologist regarding the possibility of endometriosis,” Dr. Holland said. 
If endometriosis is initially suspected, a physician may utilize a surgical procedure to determine the actual presence of lesions where the pain is occurring. A treatment plan can be determined based upon the location of the lesions and other factors such as the patient’s age, stage of life, and desire for childbearing. The spectrum of treatment options ranges from over-the-counter medications to address inflammation, to low-dose birth control pills or higher-dose injections to reduce or eliminate estrogen secretions from the ovaries that contribute to the patient’s pain. Surgery may also be necessary to remove the tissue, but Dr. Holland says this is often a last resort, as surgery doesn’t guarantee that it won’t return again. If surgery is a necessity, there are minimally invasive options such as laparoscopic or robotic surgeries that typically means less pain and recovery time for the patient.
“As long as a woman’s ovaries are still functioning, or she is having exposure to estrogen, it means her endometriosis can return, so what we try to do is properly diagnose and manage their symptoms to help make her quality of life as productive as possible,” Dr. Holland said.   
Visit www.PremierPhysicianNet.com for more information about endometriosis, or to find a Premier Physician Network physician near you. 

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