The uterus is a pear-shaped organ where a baby grows in during pregnancy. The lining of the uterus undergoes cyclic changes to facilitate and maintain pregnancy. Each month the uterine lining thickens as it builds up extra blood and tissue in preparation for a potential fertilized egg. An egg that is fertilized by a sperm cell may implant itself in the nourishing uterine lining and develop into a baby. An unfertilized egg or a fertilized egg that does not implant in the uterus passes through the reproductive system. During menstruation the uterine lining sheds and the blood leaves the body through the vagina. The uterus is joined to the vagina by the cervix. The vagina is a muscular passageway that extends from the cervix to the external female genitalia.
Birth control pills may be used to stop menstruation and prevent the condition from getting worse. Hormonal therapy may be used to prevent symptoms and the growth of endometriosis. However, certain types of hormone medications may prevent pregnancy. If you desire to get pregnant or have severe symptoms, you may consider surgical treatment.
Surgical treatment for endometriosis involves traditional or laparoscopic surgery to remove growth, scar tissue, or adhesions. Laparoscopic surgery is minimally invasive and associated with short recovery times. I n severe cases of endometriosis, a total hysterectomy is performed to remove the uterus, both fallopian tubes, and both ovaries. In some cases, just the uterus may be removed. You will not be able to become pregnant after a hysterectomy.
Am I at Risk
Endometriosis is a common condition. Women with a family history of endometriosis have a higher risk of developing it. Women that did not give birth to children may have a higher risk. Women with periods that last longer than seven days or had their first period at an early age may be at risk for endometriosis.
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The iHealthSpot patient education library was written collaboratively by the iHealthSpot editorial team which includes Senior Medical Authors Dr. Mary Car-Blanchard, OTD/OTR/L and Valerie K. Clark, and the following editorial advisors: Steve Meadows, MD, Ernie F. Soto, DDS, Ronald J. Glatzer, MD, Jonathan Rosenberg, MD, Christopher M. Nolte, MD, David Applebaum, MD, Jonathan M. Tarrash, MD, and Paula Soto, RN/BSN. This content complies with the HONcode standard for trustworthy health information. The library commenced development on September 1, 2005 with the latest update/addition on April 13th, 2016. For information on iHealthSpot’s other services including medical website design, visit www.iHealthSpot.com.