Interior Women's Health
Board Certified OB-GYNS, Midwives & Advanced Nurse Practitioners located in Fairbanks, AK
If you’re experiencing pelvic discomfort and menstrual cramping, you may be one of the 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 suffering from endometriosis.The team at Interior Women's Health are here to help. With a convenient location in Fairbanks, Alaska, the team can evaluate your symptoms and recommend a treatment plan that’s right for you. Book an appointment through the online scheduling system or by calling the office directly.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a painful process that occurs when the cells that line your uterus — known as endometrial cells — from outside your uterus. Depending on the severity, endometriosis can lead to scarring and infertility. Some areas where endometriosis is commonly found include:
- Fallopian tubes
- Outer lining of your uterus
Rarely does endometrial tissue spread to areas other than your pelvic organs, but it’s possible.
How do I know if I have endometriosis?
Many women who have endometriosis don’t experience any symptoms. For others, common symptoms include:
- Menstrual cramps that get worse over time
- Intestinal pain
- Pain during sex
- Painful bowel movements
- Pain in lower back and pelvis
- Spotting between periods
- Digestive problems
If you suspect you may be suffering from endometriosis, the team at Interior Women's Health can perform several tests to confirm a diagnosis. The tests include:
- Ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts — or sacs filled with air, fluid or other materials
- Pelvic exam to feel for large scars or cysts
- MRI to get a 3-D look at your pelvic organs
While these tests can give a good indication that endometriosis is present, surgery is the only way to know for certain. Our team at Interior Women's Health can perform a surgery known as laparoscopy, during which a tiny camera is inserted through your abdomen to look for signs of endometrial growth. Sometimes, a tissue sample is necessary to complete a diagnosis.
How is endometriosis treated?
Depending on the severity of your condition, our team at Interior Women's Health will recommend one of several treatment methods. For mild cases, over-the-counter drugs are prescribed to reduce inflammation and pain. These are especially helpful for uncomfortable menstrual cramping. Although not a permanent fix, hormone therapy is a common treatment option. Hormone medication has been known to alleviate pain and slow endometrial tissue growth.
Surgery is another possibility. The team at Interior Women's Health has extensive experience treating endometriosis with surgery. Laparoscopic surgery — which utilizes small incisions and tiny cameras — can remove endometriosis growth. This surgery is less invasive than other options and preserves your uterus and ovaries. For more severe cases, a hysterectomy might be necessary. During a hysterectomy, your uterus, ovaries, and cervix are removed.
What options are available for hormone therapy?
There are four main hormone therapy options available:
- Hormonal contraceptives: Birth control, vaginal rings, and patches are used to control the hormones that cause endometrial tissue to grow.
- Gonadotropin-releasing hormone (Gn-RH) agonists and antagonists: Temporarily mimics menopause by preventing menstruation and stopping your ovaries from producing estrogen, shrinking the endometrial tissue.
- Progestin therapy: Given by either implant or injection to stop menstruation and prevent endometrial tissue growth.
- Danazol: Prevents menstruation and stops your ovaries from producing estrogen; the process can have serious side effects, so it’s not usually the first option.
To learn more about hormone therapy options or to schedule an evaluation, schedule an appointment with our team at Interior Women's Health in Fairbanks, Alaska. You can book online or by phone.