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Endometriosis Program

Endometriosis, a common gynecological disease, affects one in 10 women in the U.S., and is diagnosed in up to half of women who experience infertility. Due to its nonspecific symptoms, endometriosis often goes undetected for years. Many individuals attribute their chronic pelvic pain to menstrual cramps rather than recognizing it as a symptom of endometriosis. Additionally, some may remain unaware of their condition due to silent symptoms. It can take up to a decade for some patients to receive a proper diagnosis.

Normally, the uterine lining (endometrium) grows along the interior walls of the uterus, providing a cushioned and receptive environment for embryo implantation during pregnancy. However, in endometriosis, the endometrium grows outside the uterus, commonly on the exterior of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, intestines, or other pelvic structures. This displacement frequently leads to chronic pelvic pain and may cause secondary symptoms, such as irritability, difficulty sleeping, anxiety, depression, or low self-esteem.

Over time, endometriosis induces inflammation, bleeding, and scar tissue formation within the pelvic cavity, regardless of whether the patient experiences pelvic pain. The presence of scar tissue can hinder fertility.

Early diagnosis of endometriosis, before the formation of scar tissue, can help preserve fertility. A delayed diagnosis may pose challenges for conception, even with assisted reproductive procedures like in vitro fertilization (IVF).

Our Approach

To confirm endometriosis, clinicians biopsy a small sample of uterine tissue and examine it under a microscope for signs of the condition.

For patients diagnosed with endometriosis, the news may bring emotional relief after years of pelvic pain without a clear cause. Our providers offer treatments to alleviate chronic pain and related physical and emotional symptoms, and assess whether endometriosis has contributed to infertility.

Treatment options for endometriosis include medications and/or surgical procedures, such as excision surgery, to relieve pain, remove scar tissue, and improve organ function. These treatments may also prevent a recurrence. In cases of endometriosis-related infertility, clinicians may recommend IVF or other assisted reproductive therapies to enhance pregnancy chances.

Many patients with endometriosis benefit from therapy alongside medical treatments. Additionally, we conduct various research projects, offering patients access to medication and testing at no cost.

Throughout the infertility journey, our counselors support patients with endometriosis, explaining different assisted reproductive technologies and helping patients understand their options fully.