Endometriosis is a gynecologic condition that occurs when the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus starts growing outside it. It affects about 11% of women of reproductive age, and it has the power to significantly impact your quality of life.
Not all women with endometriosis experience pain, but it’s the most common symptom by far. The pain can range from mild to debilitating — and if you have endometriosis, you deserve to find treatment that works.
- Michael Coppa, MD, and our team can help. We specialize in gynecology care, and in this blog, we explore the common types of endometriosis pain and what you can do to find relief.
Common types of endometriosis pain
Endometriosis varies in severity, and different women can experience very different symptoms.
The pain from endometriosis can manifest in several ways, including:
- Very painful periods
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Chronic back pain
- Pain during or after sex
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements or urination
Although it’s not a type of physical pain, endometriosis can also cause infertility. If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, you don’t have to keep suffering.
Your treatment options for endometriosis
Living with endometriosis can be challenging, and you shouldn’t try to ignore or simply suffer through your symptoms. Dr. Coppa offers several different treatments for endometriosis pain.
The best treatment (or combination of treatments) for you depends on the severity of your symptoms and your overall health. We start with a comprehensive exam, review your symptoms, then develop a treatment plan to help you start feeling better.
Here are some of the most common treatment options for endometriosis pain:
A few lifestyle habits can help you manage your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Start by maintaining a healthy diet and exercising regularly. If you have acute pelvic pain or cramping, use a hot water bottle or heating pad to lessen the pain.
For some women, stress makes inflammation and endometriosis pain worse. Get in the habit of practicing relaxation techniques, like meditation or deep breathing, to manage your stress levels.
Over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen or acetaminophen can help alleviate endometriosis pain. But they only provide temporary relief and may not be effective for severe endometriosis pain.
Hormone therapy can help regulate your menstrual cycle and reduce the growth of endometrial tissue. Depending on your needs, Dr. Coppa may recommend hormonal birth control like the pill or an intrauterine device (IUD), progesterone therapy, or gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist therapy.
Sometimes, pelvic muscle tension or weakness can worsen endometriosis pain. In these cases, physical therapy can be an effective way to manage your pain.
Dr. Coppa may recommend working with a physical therapist to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles, improve your core strength, and reduce pain.
Complementary and alternative medicine
Several complementary and alternative medicine approaches show promise in managing endometriosis pain. These methods include:
- Massage therapy
- Herbal supplements
If you’re curious about trying alternative medicine, talk with Dr. Coppa beforehand. Some supplements can interfere with other medications.
Most women find relief from their endometriosis pain with a combination of the above treatments. But in some cases, surgery may be necessary to remove endometrial tissue or cysts that have formed. Dr. Coppa uses robotic surgery, a minimally invasive method, to remove the inflamed tissue and treat your endometriosis.
Endometriosis pain can be difficult to manage, but you’re not alone. Dr. Coppa and our team are here to help you find an endometriosis treatment plan that alleviates your pain and improves your quality of life.
Call one of our offices in Cranston, Providence, or Smithfield, Rhode Island, or request your first appointment online now.