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"How do I know if I have endometriosis and what can I do about it?"
I'm 26, no children or pregnancies. I have a history of ovarian cysts, including one that put me in the hospital for 3 days due to internal bleeding when it ruptured. I have back pains, sharp abdominal pains before and after my period, IBS, depression, fatigue. I'm too young to fall apart like this, should I ask my doctor for a laparoscopy?
Endometriosis requires a seasoned OB/GYN to help diagnose and manage this. I would strongly recommend that you seek out an OB/GYN to further evaluate your symptoms. Endometriosis is when the lining of the uterus is incorrectly located in other locations. It can be located in the uterus muscle itself, in the ovaries, or in other areas of the pelvis. The problem is that this tissue still responds to hormones in the blood and grows in response to estrogen. It also sheds like normal but instead of coming out (i.e. the menstrual period), it causes significant pain and problems. It is also a severe disease as it can cause infertility. Diagnosis can only be done with 100% certainty if you sample the tissue, that is, by a laparoscopy. That being said, most OB/GYNs do not recommend proceeding to this unless you have a good story for it and imaging is consistent with this. Ultrasounds can be suggestive of endometriosis. In addition, MRI of the pelvis are very helpful. Treatments are many. Sometimes you can just treat the pain with oral medications. If severe, then hormonal medications (like birth control pills or stronger hormones) can be used. Surgeries can also be used for severe cases. Talk to an ob/gyn.
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