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Endometriosis treatment at The Alexandra Hospital
Endometriosis commonly causes pain in the lower abdomen (tummy), pelvis or lower back. It may also lead to fertility problems. However, some women have few or no symptoms.
The exact cause of endometriosis is not clear however, hormone levels seem to be a feature.The endometriosis cells behave in the same way as those within the womb, so every month they grow during the menstrual cycle and are shed as a bleed.
Normally prior to a period, the endometrium thickens in preparation for a fertilised egg in response to a release of the hormone oestrogen. When pregnancy does not occur, the lining breaks down and leaves the body during the period.
Endometriosis tissue anywhere in the body will go through the same process of thickening and shedding however, it has no way of leaving the body. This leads to pain, swelling and sometimes damage to the fallopian tubes or ovaries, resulting in fertility problems.
Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
Endometriosis on the bowel may cause swelling of the lower abdomen, pain during bowel movement or blood in the faeces during a period. Endometriosis on the bladder can cause pain when urinating or blood in the urine during a period. Symptoms of endometriosis usually disappear following the menopause.
No one knows for certain what causes endometriosis or why some women experience it and others don't. Endometriosis can affect any woman of childbearing age.You're more likely to develop endometriosis if you:
A laparoscopy is a procedure that allows the consultant to look inside the abdomen. The procedure involves passing a narrow, flexible, tube-like telescopic camera (a laparoscope) into the abdomen through a small cut and the consultant will examine the organs in your pelvis by looking at pictures sent to a monitor.
This diagnostic procedure takes approximately 30 minutes and is usually undertaken as a day case under general anaesthesia.
The tissue of mild or moderate endometriosis can sometimes be removed at the same time, which may prolong the procedure. If the consultant finds severe endometriosis, he or she may remove a small piece of the endometrial tissue for testing in a laboratory to confirm that it is endometriosis and not cancer.
Drugs used to treat endometriosis do not improve fertility however; surgery can help if the endometriosis is interfering with the normal workings of the womb and ovaries.
Some women with endometriosis who want to have children may need fertility treatment and the type of treatment will depend on age, the severity of the symptoms and whether or not the patient wishes to have children.
Over-the-counter medicines, such as ibuprofen can be taken.
The combined oral contraceptive pill can also be used.
These hormonal treatments all have different side effects.
Treatment with medication will not cure endometriosis and symptoms usually return when women stop taking them.
The endometriosis may be cut away or destroyed with heat from an electric current or a laser (endometrial ablation). This is usually performed with a laparoscopy in which the consultant will make small cuts in the abdomen and then use a laparoscope to view the inside of the pelvis and remove the endometriosis. This is also referred to as keyhole surgery.
There is a possibility that the consultant may need to convert to open surgery and this is only done if it is impossible to complete the operation safely using the keyhole technique.
If you are paying for yourself, we can usually offer an upfront cost which you can then choose to pay in full or access one of our easy payment options.
If you have insurance, we can arrange direct settlement with your insurance provider, although you should check in advance to see if your treatment is covered. For more information, visit our private medical insurance page.