Endometriosis is a common disorder affecting the female reproductive organs. Tissue which normally lines the inside of the uterus, called the endometrium, begins to grow outside of the uterus. This misplaced tissue can be found on the fallopian tubes, the ovaries, or the tissue lining the pelvis.
During the menstrual cycle, the endometrium begins to thicken in order to prepare for a possible pregnancy. If pregnancy does not occur during your monthly cycle, the lining sheds and produces bleeding known as menstruation (your period). During menstruation, the lining sheds from the uterus and passes out of the body through the vagina.
The misplaced endometrial tissue acts in the same way by thickening and shedding each month. The problem lies in that this misplaced tissue has nowhere to go, and internal bleeding occurs.
Trapped blood & tissue from endometriosis can cause:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Bleeding & spotting in-between periods
- Scar tissue formation
- Extremely painful menstrual cramps
- Painful bowel movements
- Painful intercourse
Tests that can be used to check for the physical clues of endometriosis include:
- Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
Treatments for endometriosis can include medications to control pain, hormone
therapy, and surgical intervention to remove the misplaced tissue
Click Here for more information on endometriosis
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
PCOS, also known as Stein-Leventhal Syndrome, is a disorder found in approximately 5% to 10% of women. Women with the disease have high levels of male hormones (called androgens), an irregular or no menstrual cycle, and can also have cysts in their ovaries. No one knows the cause of PCOS, and many women are not aware that they have it.
Symptoms of PCOS include:
- Irregular menstrual cycle or no menstrual cycle
- Irregular bleeding
- Excess hair on the face and body
- Thinning of the scalp hair, or male-patterned baldness
- Weight problems or obesity, usually carrying extra weight around mid-section
PCOS can be managed with birth control pills, maintaining a healthy weight, and medicine for the excess hair growth and high levels of male hormones. Infertility can be treated using ovulation induction or In-Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Premature Ovarian Failure (POF)
Approximately 1% to 4% of the female population is affected with Premature Ovarian Failure. POF occurs when the ovaries, which store and release eggs, stop functioning in women under the age of 40. This can happen as early as the teen years.
Symptoms are similar to menopause and can include:
- Menstruation (your period) stops
- Hot flashes or night sweats
- Vaginal Dryness
- Low sex drive
- Painful sex
POF is generally treated with hormone replacement therapy. Birth control pills are sometimes substituted for hormone replacement therapy.
At this point in time, there is no treatment to restore fertility in those diagnosed with POF. There are other options available to these patients. Call us to find out more about using donor eggs.
Click here for an ASRM fact sheet on POF.