Endometriosis and other pelvic pain disorders

Endometriosis is an unremitting condition whereby tissues that share similar properties to those found inside the womb are found on the outside of the womb, and in other areas such as in the fallopian tubes, inside the ovaries, in the bladder or bowel and more generally inside the abdomen. Women who suffer with this condition can demonstrate a variety of symptoms, which means that it can be quite a manageable condition for some, and fairly debilitating for others.

How prevalent is endometriosis?

It is thought to affect ten per cent of the UK population who are of childbearing age. Worldwide it is believed that 176 million people suffer with this condition, so it is more common than some may think. It is often thought that endometriosis means that women will have problems with fertility, and there is a definite link. It is believed that 30 to 50 per cent of women who have been diagnosed with the condition are infertile .

What are the symptoms of endometriosis and how can these be managed?

Sufferers of endometriosis report symptoms such as heavy, painful monthly periods, pain during sexual intercourse and bleeding/spotting between the expected dates of their periods. They also typically experience moderate to severe pain in the abdominal region, sometimes also in the lower back or as low as their pelvis.

Endometriosis is still a bit of an enigma in the scientific community. It is still not known what causes it and although steps can be taken to help control the symptoms, there is no known cure.

There are options that are available that can help women cope with the symptoms; and these include pain relief, hormonal treatments and surgery. Pain relief will be offered to help soothe the abdominal pain. Usually tablets such as ibuprofen as prescribed, as its anti-inflammatory properties mean that it can help reduce the soreness caused by the excess tissue growth.

Hormonal treatments may be suggested too. By limiting the amount of oestrogen that your body produces naturally, this can reduce the amount of excess endometriotic tissue that grows outside of the womb.

Although the amount of tissues growth is not always directly related to the amount of pain and discomfort sufferers experience, for some patients this can make a big difference. If there is a great deal of endometriotis detected, some women will be offered surgery to remove this. The effectiveness of this approach largely depends on where in the body the excess tissue has grown, how accessible it is and the quantity that is there, but the surgical approach can certainly help some women significantly. Mr Nitish Narvekar is a London-based consultant gynaecologist that specialises in minimal access surgery and is highly experienced in the surgical approach to endometriosis.

Symptoms experienced by women with endometriosis are similar to other pelvic disorders, which is one of the reasons that it can be hard to diagnose. If you display symptoms such as those listed above, but are also running a fever, you could be differing with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is an infection that will need to be treated with antibiotics. It is important to act fast if you believe you may have PID, as this can result in infertility. However, if caught soon enough, this is easily preventable.

To arrange a consultation with Mr Narvekar, call his private secretary D Loziak on 020 3794 8769 or fill in the contact form and we’ll be in touch.