Endometriosis

Referral centre for endometriosis, Cape Town, South Africa

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a pathological condition in which tissue resembling the normal lining of the uterus cavity (endometrium) is found outside the uterus cavity, even in and on the reproductive organs, as well as anywhere in the pelvic cavity.

Endometriosis

Depending on the severity of the condition it can be associated with the following symptoms:

  • infertility
  • dysmenorrhoea (abdominal pain during menstruation)
  • pain during sexual intercourse

Diagnosis of endometriosis

A medical history is taken and a physical assessment is performed. Furthermore, an ultra-sound, MRI or CT-scan can further assist with the diagnostic process.

In the pelvis, three forms can occur:

  • Peritoneal
  • Ovarian
  • Rectovaginal

Endometriosis treatment

Treatment can be addressed through:

  • pain medication (to control symptoms),
  • hormonal therapy (to slow endometrial tissue growth and prevent new implants of endometrial tissue)
  • gynaecological endoscopic surgery (to remove the endometriosis and preserve the uterus and ovaries).
    If endometriosis needs to be removed through endoscopic surgery, your surgeon will use various techniques, which includes excisions (cutting and removing tissue) or destroying the tissue with a laser beam. In more severe cases, where endometriomas (endometriotic cyst, usually in the ovary) have developed, the cyst is opened, the material is aspirated and the cyst is irrigated. The interior wall is removed to destroy the mucosal lining. This is performed to ensure the cyst does not reoccur.SASREG (SA Society of Reproductive Medicine and Gynaecological Endoscopy) serves as governing body and they have created a contact list of specialists, who can perform surgery to treat endometriosis. The public can contact SASREG (website: www.sasreg.co.za) for more information.

The treatment approach chosen by yourself and your physician, will depend on the severity of your signs and symptoms and whether you wish to become pregnant.

*A pregnancy rate of 55% can be expected in moderate cases and 36% in severe cases, during the first year after appropriate surgery.