Health Check: Endometriosis

It's an often painful condition that affects one in 10 young women. Right now, there is no cure. But there is treatment for the millions of women who suffer from Endometriosis.

It's a condition Dr. Nicole Dix is seeing more often. It's called Endometriosis. It happens when the lining on the inside of the uterus, called the Endometrium, gets outside the uterus.

Dr. Nicole Dix said, "We think it has to do with backflow of the menstrual period. Instead of blood all coming out, some of it flows back through the uterus and spills out into the fallopian tube and then has a chance to stick on those pelvic organs."

The result for many women is pelvic pain and painful menstrual cycles, urination, bowel movements or intercourse - even infertility.

"The way they usually describe that pain is very sharp, stabbing like almost as if someone had a knife inside your abdomen and was twisting and turning it. So you can imagine if you had to live with that kind of pain everyday how that affects your life."

Endometriosis usually targets women in their reproductive years in their 20s or 30s. What's interesting about this condition is some women experience crippling pain while others don't even realize they have it.

There's no cure. But there are ways to treat it, beginning with pain killers and birth control pills.

"If the time they're really hurting is during their menstrual cycle, we can eliminate how many times a year they have to have that. Often times they feel much better, " said Dr. Dix.

Laproscropic surgery is another option, but after a year or two the Endometriosis often grows back.

Unfortunately, doctors say this problem doesn't go away for good until patients reach menopause.

There are no specific risk factors for Endometriosis. However, if you have a first degree relative, a mother or sister who has it, you have a much greater chance of getting the condition, too. The only way to know for sure if you have it is surgery.


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