If you have painful symptoms of endometriosis, you can trust our specialists to bring their vast knowledge and experience to give you the best outcome possible.
Our experts also conduct research to better understand endometriosis and how it affects women, while developing and evaluating promising new treatments.
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.
An estimated 5 million women in the U.S. have endometriosis. It is most common in women over age 30 but can affect any female who menstruates.
When to See a Doctor
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. Other symptoms may include:
- Pain during periods: severe menstrual cramping, lower back or abdominal pain, painful bowel movements or painful urination
- Pain during or after sex
- Excessive bleeding: heavy periods or bleeding or spotting between periods
- Gastrointestinal symptoms: diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea
Meet Our Endometriosis Specialists
Our team includes surgeons and physicians from reproductive endocrinology and infertility, gynecology, pain management, gastroenterology, urogynecology and 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 a woman wants children in the future. Endometriosis treatment may include lifestyle recommendations or counseling to help you cope with mood changes related to the condition.
Your treatment plan will be tailored to your individual needs and may include a combination of medication, counseling, hormone therapy, endometriosis surgery, and alternative therapies (such as acupuncture, endometriosis diet or massage.)
Hormone Therapy for Endometriosis
Hormone therapy can stop endometriosis from getting worse and can help relieve most symptoms. Your doctor will work with you to determine the best hormone therapy to treat your endometriosis. Hormone therapy may be given as pills, nasal spray or shots.
Your doctor may recommend surgery 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:
Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery where a surgeon passes a laparoscope (a lighted tube) 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.
Laparotomy, a major abdominal surgery where one larger incision is made in your abdomen.
Robotically Assisted Surgery
UC San Diego Health offers minimally invasive robotically assisted surgery for the treatment of endometriosis. This type of surgery is especially promising for women who would like to have children in the future. Regardless of the location of the endometriosis, the surgeon is able to make small precise movements to remove the tissue, preserving the delicate structures of the pelvis and decreasing the chance of future complications.
Additional benefits include:
- Significantly less pain
- Less blood loss and scarring
- Faster return to normal daily activities
- Better clinical outcomes in many cases
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.