Endometriosis Specialist in Palo Alto, California
SEVERE PAIN WITH YOUR PERIODS? YOU MIGHT HAVE ENDOMETRIOSIS
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic estrogen dependent disease that can cause incapacitating pain, organ failure, infertility, and other severe medical consequences if not adequately treated. It was described in medical literature more than 300 years ago and was even alluded to in ancient medical texts from nearly 4,000 years ago. And, far from being a rare disease, it’s estimated that as many as 200 million women and pubescent girls from around the world have endometriosis.
For centuries the symptoms of endometriosis have been dismissed as a supposedly normal part of womanhood, nothing more than painful periods or cramps. However, endometriosis is a serious disease which can lead to serious medical consequences if inadequately treated. In fact, endometriosis actually shares many features with non-fatal cancers, such as the ability to metastasize throughout the entire body, potentially causing irreparable damage and disability. Recently, one study even cited endometriosis as one of the top ten most painful medical conditions. While it’s true that extreme, incapacitating pain with menstruation is one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis, it can also cause chronic and disabling pain in essentially any region of the body and at any time during the month. Subfertility/infertility, excruciating pain during sexual intercourse, silent kidney loss, searing lower back, hip and leg pain, and severe bowel and bladder dysfunction are among other symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis.
Endometriosis develops when endometrial-like cells similar to those lining the inside of the uterus (endometrium) begin growing in other areas or organs of the body.
Like many other diseases, endometriosis can be a chronic condition, with symptoms ranging from mild to severe. In an attempt to distinguish these different phenotypes of endometriosis, the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) established a classification system comprising 4 stages: Minimal Disease (Stage 1), Mild Disease (Stage 2), Moderate Disease (Stage 3), Severe Disease (Stage 4). However, this system often does not correlate to the pain symptoms that women can have. For example, patients classified with only minimal disease (Stage 1) can still experience debilitating pain, while those diagnosed with severe stage 4 disease sometimes have no pain symptoms at all.
Diagnosing endometriosis can be difficult for a non-specialist because symptoms can vary widely and the only way to definitely diagnose endometriosis is by undergoing a surgical procedure called laparoscopy. Because of these and other diagnostic obstacles, unfortunately many women and girls with endometriosis experience an average of about 6-10 years delay before being accurately diagnosed.
While theories abound, the causes of endometriosis are unknown and, sadly, there is still no cure.
Did you know?
Endometriosis is one of the top three causes of female infertility
- An estimated 8.5-10 million women in the US and 200 million (that’s 200,000,000) worldwide are believed to be affected
- Extremely painful menstruation, endometriosis’ most commonly known symptom, is the leading cause of missed work and school in young girls and women, according to one NIH study
- Endometriosis commonly goes undiagnosed or misdiagnosed, with women experiencing about 6-10 years delay before being correctly diagnosed
- Endometriosis is also frequently undiagnosed in teenage girls, due to persistent medical myths, like the false belief that pain with periods is normal or that teenagers rarely get endometriosis
Contact us to schedule a consultation with Doctor Camran Nezhat, one of the best known world’s endometriosis specialists.
Atypical Endometriosis Symptoms
Endometriosis Risk Factors
How Common Is Endometriosis?
Where Does Endometriosis Grow?
How Does Endometriosis Occur?
Why Does Endometriosis Occur?
Why is it often so painful?
Can Endometriosis Be Cured?
How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?
Endometriosis Treatment Options
Back pain? Chest pain? Leg Pain?
Choosing an endometriosis surgeon
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Alternatives To Surgery
Endometriosis Surgery Myths
Endometriosis: ancient disease, ancient treatment.
Endometriosis Excision Surgery White Paper
Fibroids Surgery Myths
Fibroids Surgery Options
Bowel Endometriosis Symptoms
Bladder Endometriosis Symptoms
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Thoracic Endometriosis Surgery
Infertility Surgery Treatment
Books and Articles on Surgery
History of Endoscopy