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Trouble “Down Below”

  • September 19, 2011
  • 5:01 pm
  • 2 of 4

Scientists aren’t sure exactly what causes endometriosis, but they do know that genetics plays a leading role in risk (if your mom or sister has it, your chances increase sixfold); exposure to pollutants such as dioxin, a chemical used in pesticides and bleached paper, might also be a prime risk factor. For now, the only way to score a definitive diagnosis is through surgery.

“To be sure, we have to physically see this tissue living where it doesn’t belong,” explains ob-gyn Shari Brasner, M.D., of the Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City. This procedure involves general anesthesia and a camera exploring the inner abdomen and pelvis. If a physician finds any wayward tissue, it can often be removed right then, though it can grow back. The good news: Less-invasive diagnostic procedures (including in-office biopsies and blood tests to measure inflammation levels) should be available within three to five years, says Falcone.

Of course, after getting the diagnosis, you still have to live with the condition, which can come and go or persist for as long as you menstruate. Birth control can decrease the pain and bleeding, and hormone-manipulating drugs such as danazol and Lupron can shrink the growths by “turning off” the ovaries. (Similarly, “pregnancy will keep endometrial tissue quiet because your hormones aren’t cycling,” says Brasner.) Scientists are now studying how anti-progesterone and breast-cancer drugs may help.

If Rx medicines don’t yield relief, alternative treatments like acupuncture may ease pain. And if nothing else works, more surgery may be in order. But the crucial thing is for each endometriosis patient to receive a tailored health plan that lets her move past the pain and get on with her life.

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Read more: Cancer, General Health, Gynecology, Health, Love, Obstetrics, Relationships, Sex, Women's Health, , , , , , , , , , , ,

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Rodale

Rodale.com is a new original source for daily news, information, and advice on personal and environmental health. Rodale.com focuses on “Where Health Meets Green” topics, providing daily news stories and breaking news along with easy-to-follow, high-impact tips and advice.

127 comments

+ add your own
10:49AM PDT on Oct 8, 2011

A lot of good but troubling information here!

11:50AM PDT on Oct 3, 2011

TY

2:18PM PDT on Oct 2, 2011

It is hard to belive in this day and age that medicine is so far behind in some areas but so far forward in others.

4:59PM PDT on Sep 28, 2011

I have found Western medicine particularly unhelpful. Slow to diagnose. No useful treatments. Studies done on men...

9:27AM PDT on Sep 23, 2011

Time for a yearly check up!

10:03AM PDT on Sep 22, 2011

O_o Thanks for posting, good info.

7:03PM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

THANKS-

2:13PM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

I don't like the term "knocked-up". Other than that, thanks for the article. I had a total hysterectomy at 42. I had endo so bad. The pain was horrible. Went to natural suppliments now.

1:18PM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

I am certainly grateful for this imformation, as I am not at all schooled about these matters! I am posting this one for sure!

9:18AM PDT on Sep 21, 2011

why me

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