Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when the uterine lining grows outside the uterus, affecting organs such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. Most commonly characterized by pain, endometriosis can cause a variety of uncomfortable symptoms and even affect your ability to become pregnant. At Denver Fertility Albrecht Women’s Care in Lone Tree, Englewood, CO, we can diagnose and provide treatment options for patients with endometriosis. Dr. Bruce Albrecht and Dr. Dana Ambler are board-certified in reproductive endocrinology, as well as obstetrics and gynecology. With over 45 years of experience between them, our doctors can improve your symptoms and fertility with medical management or through minimally invasive surgery options.
Researchers believe endometriosis may affect up to 11 percent of women in the U.S. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that normally lines the uterus, known as the endometrium, grows outside the uterine cavity. These growths can cause serious issues, including inflammation, swelling, and pain. In some cases, the tissue continues to enlarge, causing more serious concerns to develop.
While endometriosis can develop anytime after puberty, it is more common to diagonse women in their 30s and 40s. Endometriosis is more likely to occur if you have:
- Menstrual periods that last more than seven days
- Short menstrual cycles of 27 days or fewer
- Never had children
- A family member with endometriosis
Endometriosis can also occur if you have a health condition which blocks menstrual blood from properly leaving the body.
For most women, the primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain and may manifest as:
- Painful menstrual cramps
- Chronic pain in the lower back or pelvis
- Intestinal pain
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Painful bowel movements or urination while menstruating
Other symptoms of endometriosis include bleeding or spotting between menstrual periods, digestive problems, such as diarrhea or constipation, and infertility.
Endometriosis is often difficult to diagnose. Most often, patients come to our practice complaining of chronic pelvic or menstrual pain. Since pain is associated with many conditions, Drs. Albrecht and Ambler will perform a comprehensive evaluation and examination to rule out other possibilities. This process may involve a laboratory evaluation, pelvic examination, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or medicinal intervention. Dr. Albrecht or Dr. Ambler can also perform an ultrasound to identify the presence of cysts on the ovaries. However, the only way of definitively diagnosing endometriosis is to perform laparoscopic surgery and biopsy of the endometriotic lesions.
Your Treatment Options
In general, the most effective treatment option for endometriosis is surgery, especially if you want to become pregnant. However, we can personalize your treatment plan to suit your needs. Medical management may be sufficient to suppress your symptoms. Treatment often consists of medications such as Lupron®, Danazol, and/or continuous birth control. However, these treatments block all ovarian function and preclude patients' ability to conceive.
At Albrecht Women’s Care, we understand that not every woman with endometriosis is seeking fertility treatment.
For patients interested in becoming pregnant, Drs. Albrecht or Ambler can perform minimally invasive surgery to remove growths and improve fertility. Individuals with inflammatory endometriosis may experience better results by combining medical or surgical treatments. For example, your doctor may recommend you take birth control a short period of time before beginning fertility treatment.
At Denver Fertility Albrecht Women’s Care, we understand that not every woman with endometriosis is seeking fertility treatment. We can provide high-quality care for individuals suffering from this condition at every stage of their life. For more information about endometriosis and the treatments we offer, call our office today at (720) 420-1570 or contact us online.