Endometriosis Treatment in Northern New Jersey

Woman sitting on sofa holding abdomen in painWomen who experience endometriosis know just how painful this condition can become. It can also affect fertility. Rather than live with the pain and other consequences, it is possible to find relief with endometriosis treatments. Bergen Medical Associates encourages women with pelvic pain to schedule an appointment with our gynecology department. We welcome patients throughout northern New Jersey, offering medical services at multiple, convenient office locations.

What Is Endometriosis?

The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. During a menstrual period, the uterus sheds this lining, and it exits the body. In the early phases of pregnancy, these layers of endometrium assist in the development of the fertilized egg. When tissue like endometrium grows outside the uterus, it is known as endometriosis. The growths can affect organs and other bodily structures.

Here are a few areas where endometrium-like tissue may be found with endometriosis:

  • Ovaries and fallopian tubes
  • Behind the uterus and uterosacral ligaments
  • Vagina, vulva, and cervix
  • Stomach, intestines, or rectum
  • Peritoneum, which lines the pelvic cavity and abdomen
  • Bladder

In some cases, these tissues may be found in the diaphragm, chest, or lungs. When this type of tissue grows outside the uterus, it does not shed during the menstrual cycle. If it keeps building, this abnormal tissue can result in cysts, scarring, and inflammation, all of which can be painful.

What Are Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis?

It is not known what causes endometriosis. The two main symptoms are pelvic pain and infertility, or trouble getting pregnant. Chronic pelvic pain may present as severe menstrual cramps or lower back pain. Sometimes the pain is experienced during or after sex. Additional symptoms include:

  • Pain with urination or bowel movements during menstruation
  • Constipation or diarrhea during menstrual periods
  • Bloating and nausea
  • Fatigue, with extremely low energy levels
  • Bleeding and spotting between menstrual cycles
  • Depression and anxiety

What Are the Risk Factors for Endometriosis?

While endometriosis can affect anyone who menstruates, and the cause of this condition is not fully understood, some high-risk categories have been observed. These include:

  • Family history of endometriosis, for example in a mother, sister, or daughter
  • Early onset of menstruation, especially before 11 years old
  • Short menstrual cycles of less than 27 days
  • Heavy menstrual cycles that last 7 days or more

How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed at Bergen Medical Associates?

The experienced gynecology practitioners at Bergen Medical Associates start with a thorough medical history and examination. This will include a pelvic exam and a few screening tests to help narrow down the diagnosis. Our medical team also may request imaging tests, including ultrasound and MRI, to help visualize the areas where pain is localized.

If the physician suspects that endometriosis is present, the only way to be certain is through surgical biopsy. The medical team at Bergen Medical Associates will refer you to a qualified surgeon who can perform a laparoscopy, which uses a small incision to insert a light and camera. The surgeon can visually examine the tissue for signs of endometriosis. If the laparoscopy reveals suspicious tissue, the surgeon will take a small sample for examination in the laboratory. This is how patients can know for certain that they are experiencing endometriosis.

What Are the Treatment Options for Endometriosis?

There are several endometriosis treatments available, including nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen. Depending on the severity of the pain and the age and situation of the patient, the medical team may prescribe oral contraceptives with estrogen and progesterone. Prescription pain medications may be considered.

If more complicated hormone therapy is indicated, patients can be referred to the endocrinology department at Bergen Medical Associates. Recommendations may include medicines that release a certain hormone, taken as a pill or nasal spray. Other hormones may be administered as a pill, injection, or through an IUD.

If patients do not experience relief from endometriosis pain with medications or hormone therapies, surgical interventions may be recommended. The medical team at Bergen Medical Associates can refer patients for surgical procedures. In these situations, we work collaboratively with all the medical practitioners involved in the care of our patients.

Schedule an Appointment in Northern NJ at Bergen Medical Associates

For more information about the medical services available at Bergen Medical Associates, including endometriosis treatments, contact us today. We offer treatment at convenient locations throughout northern New Jersey.