Endometriosis occurs in about 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44. Besides suffering through the pain, it’s estimated that one-third of women with endometriosis have a hard time getting pregnant. Dr. Stephen Weinstein has extensive experience diagnosing and treating endometriosis. If you experience painful periods or general pelvic pain, call his office in Walnut Creek, California, or book an appointment online.
The lining of your uterus, the endometrium, goes through a regular monthly cycle. It thickens to nurture a fertilized egg, breaks down to produce menstrual bleeding if you’re not pregnant, then starts the cycle over again.
Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue grows outside the uterus. It commonly develops on your ovaries and fallopian tubes, as well as on the outside wall of the uterus and connective tissues that hold the uterus in place. It may also develop in your vagina and other pelvic organs like your bladder.
Patches of endometriosis go through the same monthly cycles as your endometrium. When the tissues break down and bleed inside the pelvic region, it causes inflammation, swelling, and scarring.
Some women don’t experience symptoms, so they’re not aware they have endometriosis. Those who develop symptoms usually share one common problem: pain. This can mean painful menstrual periods or pain:
You may also have symptoms like bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, bloating, diarrhea, or constipation.
Menstrual pain usually begins before menstruation starts, is worse on the first day of your period, then gets progressively better. The type of menstrual pain caused by endometriosis — that should prompt you to see a doctor — tends to progressively worsen throughout your period and may continue after your period ends.
The most important thing is to not wait to be evaluated for painful symptoms because untreated endometriosis is one of the top causes of infertility.
Dr. Weinstein may not detect endometriosis during a pelvic exam unless it’s severe or has caused a cyst to form, so he may perform an ultrasound. Treatment for endometriosis includes:
Hormone-containing medications lessen your pain by preventing the growth of new endometrial tissues and stopping the menstrual cycle. These medications don’t affect existing patches of endometriosis.
Dr. Weinstein may perform a laparoscopy, which is minimally invasive surgery that allows him to look inside your abdomen, find areas of endometriosis, and remove them. This type of surgery is performed as an outpatient procedure at the Aspen Surgery Center.
Call Dr. Weinstein or use the online booking feature to schedule an appointment if you’re experiencing any symptoms associated with endometriosis.