If you have painful symptoms of endometriosis, you can trust our specialists at UC San Diego Health to bring their vast knowledge and experience to give you the best outcomes possible.
Improving the lives of patients is in our job description. We were one of the first programs to take a multifaceted approach to endometriosis when our program was established in 2011.
In addition to gynecologists, your care may include experts in pain management, psychiatry, physical therapy, gastroenterology and nutrition, and more.
Our experts also conduct innovative research to learn how endometriosis affects women, as we work hard to develop and evaluate promising new treatments and less invasive ways of diagnosing endometriosis.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a common gynecological disease in which tissue that normally lines the womb (uterus) grows in other areas of the body, such as the pelvic cavity, bladder, bowel, fallopian tubes or ovaries.
Some five to ten percent of women in the U.S. have endometriosis. It is most common in women over age 30 but can affect any female who menstruates.
The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your menstrual period. Endometriosis may be more common in women with a family history of this disease.
When to See a Doctor
If you have any of the following symptoms you should consult your physician to see if you might have endometriosis.
- Pain during periods such as severe menstrual cramping that sidelines you from your normal activities
- Recurring lower back or abdominal pain with periods
- Pain before or after sexual activity
- Pelvic pain not during periods
Many women endure problems for years before getting help. We want to intervene earlier and improve your quality of life without delay.
Meet Our Endometriosis Specialists
When you make an appointment, you'll meet with one of our reproductive endocrinologists:
Depending on your symptoms and the treatments recommended, you may also meet with other members of the team, including surgeons and physicians from infertility, gynecology, pain management, gastroenterology, urogynecology or general surgery.
While there is currently no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments that can help you overcome endometriosis pain and infertility.
Treatment for endometriosis depends on several factors, including age, the severity of symptoms and disease, and whether or not children are desired in the future.
Our approach to endometriosis care has five main goals:
- Alleviate pain
- Improve quality of life
- Avoid emergency room visits
- Avoid or reduce use of opioids
- Minimize use of invasive procedures
Your treatment plan will be tailored to your individual needs and may include a combination of medication, counseling, hormone therapy, surgery, and other therapies such as nutrition management, psychology or acupuncture.
Hormone Therapy for Endometriosis
Hormone therapies can stop endometriosis from getting worse and can help relieve most symptoms. We will work with you to determine the best hormone therapy to treat your endometriosis. Hormone therapy may be given as pills, shots or as an IUD.
Surgery is sometimes recommended to treat severe pain from endometriosis. During surgery, your surgeon will locate any areas of endometriosis and may remove endometriosis lesions and scar tissue. The two forms of surgery used for treating endometriosis are:
Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery where a laparoscope (a lighted tube) is passed through a small incision in the abdomen. Using the laparoscope, the surgeon can look directly at the outside of the uterus, ovaries, fallopian tubes, and nearby organs in order to treat the endometriosis. Most endometriosis surgeries are performed by this method.
Laparotomy, a major abdominal surgery where one larger incision is made in your lower abdomen.
Endometriosis and Infertility
Infertility, or difficulty getting pregnant, can be a result of endometriosis. We will work with you to develop a treatment plan to minimize your endometriosis symptoms while preserving your fertility.
Learn more about our fertility program.
As part of an academic medical center, we conduct research to help develop new therapies for endometriosis. We are also studying the link between endometriosis and nutrition. To learn more about taking part in our current studies, talk to your physician or call our office.
Support Endometriosis Research
Podcast with Dr. Agarwal
Dr. Sanjay Agarwal gives an update on treatment for endometriosis on our N Equals One podcast.