Endometriosis impacts approximately 200 million women worldwide, with an estimated 10 to 20 percent of women of childbearing age in the United States currently living with the disease.
What exactly is endometriosis? Dr. Brian Cobb, obstetrician and gynecologist at The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus, is breaking it down, as well as sharing treatment options and what you should do if you are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis.
“Endometriosis is where cells that should be within the lining of the uterus find themselves in other parts of the body such as the ovaries, uterus, bladder or other areas,” said Dr. Cobb. “Each month, this causes build up that sheds, with that process repeating itself several times, in turn causing pain in the pelvic area.”
The cause of endometriosis is unknown. Family history of endometriosis is the only known risk factor. The disease can affect women of all social and ethnic backgrounds.
Several factors come into play when questioning whether or not you have endometriosis. “There should be a suspicion of endometriosis if you have recurrent painful periods,” said Dr. Cobb. “If you experience this, you should chart your periods and how much pain you are having. Increased pain during bowel movements or intercourse should also raise suspicion of endometriosis, as well as if you are experiencing difficulty in getting pregnant. Writing these things down and bringing it to us is the first step in determining what’s going on so we can develop a proper treatment plan.”
A variety of treatment options are available at The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus for endometriosis. “We do a robotic treatment where we clean out the pelvis and try to strip away all of the disease, clean up the ovaries and check the tubes to make sure they are still open,” said Dr. Cobb. “We also treat endometriosis through oral medications, like the new FDA-approved drug Orlissa. Birth control pills and other medications can also be used.”
Dr. Cobb, along with our team of physicians and midwives at The University of Kansas Health System St. Francis Campus Women’s Center, offers a full range of gynecological and obstetric services for keeping you healthy through every stage of life. Our experienced team is committed to providing personalized, quality care that you deserve. To learn more or to schedule an appointment, call 785-295-5330.