Dr. Allyson Shrikhande, a rehabilitation doctor who specializes in pelvic rehabilitation medicine, gives us an in-depth discussion about endometriosis. What is endometriosis, the disorder affecting one out of ten women? How does it show up and what are the treatment options?
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a disorder wherein cells that are similar to the cells lining the inside of the uterus (endometrium) grow outside of the uterus. These cells can settle basically anywhere in the body but most commonly in the pelvic cavity and can cause pain and infertility.
How common is endometriosis?
Depending on the study, one out of ten, or one out of nine women can have endometriosis. It is as common as breast cancer with a strong genetic predisposition.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The challenge is that it is a silent disease, making it hard to diagnose. The way it presents itself is as a person being infertile and/or having pelvic pain. Pain during intercourse, tampon use and the like as well as GI problems (constipation, abdominal bloating, abdominal pain), and a UTI that will not go away are very common symptoms.
Treatment options for endometriosis
The major challenge in the medical community is that there is no proper diagnostic other than surgery right now. The gold standard for a proper diagnosis is laparoscopic surgery, then some pathology. Because of the complexity and systemic nature of endometriosis, Dr. Shrikhande also takes on a holistic approach to treatment, discussing additional things like nutrition and even medication with patients.
Dr. Shrikhande underlines the need for more research and studies to help in diagnosing endometriosis in its early stages. Unfortunately, it is a very complex disease with strong genetic disposition making it even harder to prevent. Awareness is key as there is still nothing conclusive as to what is causing endo. It’s important that women are diagnosed in an efficient manner and have access to skilled medical and rehab providers who can help them with proficient treatment.
Dr. Allyson Shrikhande, a board-certified Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation specialist, is the Chief Medical Officer of Pelvic Rehabilitation Medicine. She is also the Chair of the Medical Education Committee for the International Pelvic Pain Society. She is working with other experts in the field of chronic pelvic pain to develop training modules for residents and physicians interested in learning about the diagnosis, treatment, and management of chronic pelvic pain. A leading expert on pelvic health and a respected researcher, author and lecturer, Dr. Shrikhande is a recognized authority on male and female pelvic pain diagnosis and treatment.
Resources and links:
Instagram: @pelvicrehabilitation, @doctor.allyson
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