Chronic abdominal pain, painful periods, or irregular bleeding can be signs of endometriosis, a common condition in which the lining of your uterus grows elsewhere in the pelvis. Endometriosis can cause severe pain and make it difficult to get pregnant, but you don’t have to live with the discomfort it causes. For compassionate endometriosis care, contact Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN and his team today at their office in Redding, California. Schedule an appointment online or by phone today to get started.

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More than 11% of American women between the ages of 15-44 have endometriosis, a condition where the endometrium, or tissue lining the uterus, begins to grow in other areas of your body. The tissue often grows on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and outside the uterus.

Endometriosis ranges from mild to severe, and it can be painful. Common symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Pelvic pain
  • Pain with sex
  • Pain with urination or bowel movements
  • Irregular or increased bleeding
  • Infertility

Endometriosis can make your menstrual periods painful and sexual intercourse unenjoyable. Other symptoms can include fatigue, bloating, and nausea. If you’re trying to get pregnant, having endometriosis can cause infertility.

What causes endometriosis?

Any woman of reproductive age can get endometriosis, and it’s most common in women ages 30-50. While the exact cause of endometriosis isn’t known, there are a few risk factors that make it more likely you might have the condition, including:

  • You’ve never had children
  • You have menstrual periods lasting longer than seven days
  • You have a family member with endometriosis
  • You have a retrograde menstrual flow

Genetic factors, hormones, and menstrual flow can all contribute to the onset of endometriosis. Retrograde menstrual flow occurs when some of the tissue that’s shed during your period flows through your fallopian tube into other areas of your pelvis.

How is endometriosis diagnosed and treated?

Endometriosis is often diagnosed with a pelvic exam or other tests. Pain level does not always indicate how severe your endometriosis is. Some women experience pain with mild endometriosis, while others experience few symptoms but suffer from more severe endometriosis.

If you think you may have endometriosis, make an appointment with Dr. Van Kirk as early diagnosis often makes managing the condition easier. He offers in-office procedures, including hysteroscopy, to help diagnose and treat endometriosis.

There’s no cure for endometriosis, but treatment can help manage symptoms and pain. For some women, Dr. Van Kirk recommends hormonal birth control to manage menstrual periods. Other hormones and surgery are also options.

Does endometriosis affect fertility?

Endometriosis can make it more difficult to get pregnant. Up to half of women with endometriosis struggle with infertility. But even if you have endometriosis, it’s still possible to get pregnant and have a full-term pregnancy.

Tissue growth can block reproductive organs, making it more difficult for the sperm to find the egg. Endometriosis can impact the growth of the lining inside your uterus, making it harder for a fertilized egg to attach. Surgery or medication can help manage the symptoms of endometriosis so you can get pregnant.

For top-quality endometriosis care, schedule an appointment with Samuel Van Kirk, M.D. OBGYN online or by phone today.