Managing & treating endometriosis

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Endometriosis is a condition that affects a woman's reproductive organs. It happens when the tissue that lines the uterus grows outside of it. Causes, symptoms, diagnosis and the options to manage and treat endometriosis including lifestyle, pain relief medications, hormone therapy and different types of surgery are all discussed. Often women have questions about the effect of endometriosis on their bladder and bowel, fertility, emotional health and relationships. Knowing where to go for advice and support is important, and reading and listening to the personal stories of women who have endometriosis is helpful too, particularly the importance of not giving up hope.

Dr Elizabeth Farrell, Medical Director of Jean Hailes Medical Centre, explains some key points of endometriosis in this video.

Symptoms & causes

Endometriosis affects a woman’s reproductive organs when the lining cells of the uterus grow outside of it. What happens when you have endometriosis, causes and symptoms are all discussed.

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The best way to diagnose endometriosis is by having a laparoscopy, a small operation. Endometriosis is usually classified in stages from minimal to severe and your doctor is also likely to ask you questions about your periods, pain and other symptoms.

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Management & treatment

There are many options to manage and treat endometriosis including a healthy lifestyle, pain relief medications, hormone therapy such as the oral contraceptive pill and progestins. Different types of surgery including laparoscopy, laparotomy and hysterectomy are also discussed.

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About one third of women with endometriosis have trouble with fertility and struggle to get pregnant. This is likely to affect women in different ways and can create a rollercoaster of emotions. Once pregnant, many women also worry about the effect of their endometriosis on their pregnancy and delivery.

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Being diagnosed, and living with, endometriosis can affect your emotional health. From your reaction to a diagnosis and then learning to live with endometriosis, feelings of sadness, depression, anxiety and changes to your body image can all impact on your life.

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Depending on the location of your endometrial tissue, endometriosis can also affect other organs such as your ovaries, bladder and bowel. Often women have questions about the effect of endometriosis on things like menopause. If you are concerned about the complications that may arise from endometriosis, knowing where to go for help is important.

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Relationships & sex

Relationships with others including partners, family and friends are likely to have the greatest impact on physical and emotional wellbeing. Relationships can play a big role in providing support when you have endometriosis. How to talk with family and friends and explain endometriosis is discussed along with the impact of endometriosis on your sex life.

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