What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a common condition (affecting approximately two million women in the UK). This condition occurs when small fragments of the womb lining are found outside of the womb.

Most women that are diagnosed with endometriosis are between the ages of 25 and 40.


What can I expect at my IPSA Endometriosis Consultation?

When you attend the IPSA clinic for your endometriosis consultation, you can be assured that you will be seen by a female IPSA practitioner who is experienced in gynaecological medicine, and who has an interest in family planning issues. IPSA clinic is a clean, quiet, and totally confidential place, where IPSA’s person-centred approach to your health issues means that your female IPSA doctor will involve you fully in the consultation process, with your endometriosis symptoms being taken seriously.

Your female IPSA practitioner will explain and fully discuss the different endometriosis treatment options with you, prior to coming to an agreement on the best method of endometriosis management for your particular symptoms.


What causes Endometriosis?

Although the causes of endometriosis are unknown, several theories for the condition have been put forward. One of the most widely accepted theories is that during a period, the womb lining does not leave the body as it should, instead embedding itself on the pelvic organs.


Symptoms of Endometriosis

The symptoms experienced with endometriosis often vary significantly between different women; with some women experiencing no symptoms.

The symptoms, which are most often associated with endometriosis, might affect you in the following ways:

• Painful/heavy periods
• Pain in the pelvis, tummy (lower abdomen) or in the lower back
• Painful sex; occurring both during and/or after intercourse
• Bleeding in-between periods
• Difficulty in conceiving


Treatment of Endometriosis

In some cases, your IPSA doctor may recommend an ultrasound scan (USS). Endometriosis may cause cysts to develop in your ovaries, and the USS is used to find these ovarian cysts. Unfortunately, the USS is not an accurate test for endometriosis, as endometriosis can only be fully confirmed following a laparoscopy (a type of surgical examination).

During your IPSA endometriosis consultation, your IPSA physician may offer you a referral for further investigations; such as a laparoscopy (a camera test) for confirmation of the diagnosis. If you do need a referral, then it can be arranged immediately by your IPSA doctor, it will be at a local facility, and also at a time to suit you.


Hormonal treatment

Endometriosis responds to and grows in the presence of oestrogen (a female hormone). Some hormone treatments that are available work by reducing or blocking the production of oestrogen in the body. The endometriosis is then unable to continue growing and this type of treatment will help in relieving symptoms.

If you are offered hormone treatment as an option, then your female IPSA physician will talk you through:

• What the hormonal treatment involves
• The pros/cons of the hormonal treatment
• Any of the possible side effects that you may experience from this type of hormonal treatment

Pain control

Pelvic pain is the main symptom of endometriosis. This is why IPSA offers various pain-relief and pain-management options, such as anti-inflammatory medication and analgesic medication of differing strengths.


The pain from endometriosis can be alleviated by undergoing surgery. This surgery involves removing the cysts, dividing the adhesions or removing the endometriosis; this kind of surgery can be done through a laparoscopy (keyhole surgery).


Endometriosis and Pregnancy

Women with endometriosis will often have some difficulty in getting pregnant and some may not manage to conceive; this is the major complication of the condition, although if you do become pregnant, the pregnancy is unlikely to be put at risk.

Pregnancy can often reduce the symptoms of endometriosis. But, once you have given birth, have stopped breastfeeding, and your menstrual cycle returns to normal, the condition often returns.

At IPSA, we understand how waiting even a few days for an appointment can be stressful, which is why we can arrange same-day endometriosis appointments for you at a time that will fit in with your busy schedule.
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