Unlike the tissue in other parts of the body, the lining in your uterus has a tendency to wander. When this occurs — a condition called endometriosis — endometrial tissue creeps outside your uterus and attaches itself to other surfaces and organs, including your ovaries and fallopian tubes.
In advanced cases, it even spreads as far as your rectum and bowel, liver, diaphragm, and lungs.
Endometriosis can be extremely painful and wreak havoc with your sexual activity and daily life, which is why we’ve devoted ourselves to understanding this condition. Dr. Khashayar Shakiba and our team here at Women’s Pelvic Surgery of North Jersey in Hackensack specialize in the diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis, a condition that can be frustrating and confusing to many patients and doctors alike.
Here, Dr. Shakiba takes a closer look at endometriosis and reveals some of the lesser-known facts about the condition.
Surprising facts about endometriosis
Most people know enough about endometriosis to understand that it involves rogue uterine tissue, and it causes long, heavy periods. Beyond that, the facts get a little muddled. To clear the waters, we’ve put together a list of things you may not know about endometriosis.
Endometriosis can cause bladder and bowel disorders
If endometrial tissue grows on the surface of your bladder or bowels, it causes pain and other symptoms.
When your bladder is involved, you may experience overactive bladder syndrome, a feeling of fullness even when your bladder’s empty and an urgent need to go and go often.
When your bowels are involved, you may feel bloated and experience either diarrhea or constipation or both.
Pregnancy can halt the progression of endometriosis
If you have endometriosis and get pregnant, your endometriosis may slow down or stop progressing altogether — at least for a while. Pregnancy triggers an increase in progesterone that temporarily relieves your symptoms, but you can expect them to return after delivery or after you’ve finished breastfeeding.
Endometriosis interferes with your sex life
During sexual intercourse, your skin and muscles stretch and pull, so if you have endometriosis, especially if it’s located behind your vagina or lower uterus, the act can be quite painful.
You may feel this pain, called dyspareunia, in your abdomen or vagina, and it can range from a dull ache to a sharp, stabbing sensation.
Endometriosis is tiring
One of the classic symptoms of endometriosis is chronic fatigue. This is different from a feeling of tiredness or lack of rest; it’s a full-body exhaustion that may make you feel as if you’ve been sedated.
If you have endometriosis, your body is working 24/7 trying to eliminate the foreign tissue, which taxes your energy. Your immune system also goes to work to combat inflammation, which further adds to the fatigue.
Women with endometriosis tend to be attractive
Although this news triggered a hailstorm of critical reviews and claims of misogyny and sexism, there’s actually sound science behind the claim. A 2013 study in Italy found that women with endometriosis were thinner, had larger breasts, and were generally considered attractive.
The researchers believe there’s a link to higher estrogen levels, which may correlate with attractiveness as well as cause endometriosis lesions.
How to treat endometriosis
There’s no cure for endometriosis, but there are several ways to treat it. Not all gynecologists have the education, training, and experience to understand and treat endometriosis, but Dr. Shakiba focuses on this condition and is up-to-date on the most advanced research, techniques, and technology.
When possible, Dr. Shakiba helps you manage the pain of endometriosis with medication and/or hormone therapy.
If your endometriosis doesn’t respond well to these efforts, he may recommend surgical excision to remove the rogue endometrial tissue. In this case, he performs a minimally invasive technique that uses the da Vinci® surgical system. This robot-assisted technique allows Dr. Shakiba to visualize your endometrial tissue on a large computer console so he can make precise movements and incisions.
In many cases, this technique eliminates pain and restores fertility.
If you’ve been living with endometriosis, it’s time to seek help from an expert. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Shakiba, request an appointment online, or call us at 201-301-2772.