Treating Endometriosis With Laparoscopy

A Worldwide Condition

Endometriosis affects more than five million women in the United States alone, and more than 70 million worldwide. This number exceeds those with breast cancer, AIDS or many other well-known diseases. Its causes are not well known and treatment options are constantly debated among health professionals. Early in 2008, the disease gained some publicity when two stars of a television program, Dancing With The Stars, disclosed the fact that they had endometriosis. Julianne Hough underwent surgery for the condition and Lacey Schwimmer chose medicinal treatment rather than surgery.

Public Awareness Brings Action

Now that there is more public awareness, the tide is changing when it comes to diagnosis and treatment of endometriosis. Methods of diagnosing the disease are improving all the time and the seriousness of it is gaining momentum as more people hear about it. The increase of public awareness helps to alert women to the possibility that they may have the disease and as a result, they are taking their health concerns to their practitioners and pressing for treatment.

Symptoms Are Often Ignored

Endometriosis is a rather serious biological malfunction in the reproductive organs of a woman. It often begins without a lot of fanfare and gradually worsens over time. Cramping and pelvic pain during periods accelerate to serious abdominal pain not only during menses but also at other times in the month. A general feeling of malaise also worsens although most women don't actively address their concerns until they try to conceive and discover they are infertile.

Drugs Or Surgery?

Drug treatments tend to stave off the condition rather than cure it. Surgery is another option to treat the disease and it can be conservative or radical. Conservative surgery is designed to return the pelvis to its normal state by destroying deposits of endometriosis, removing ovarian cysts and dividing adhesions while keeping as much of the healthy tissue in the pelvis intact as possible. Radical surgery can mean the removal of both ovaries and is usually reserved for women who do not respond to any other form of treatment.

How A Laparoscopy For Endometriosis Is Done

It is fast becoming "first response" to treat endometriosis at the time of diagnosis, when the disease is considered either mild or moderate. Laparoscopy is the type of surgery used at this juncture. A conservative type of surgery, laparoscopy works at restoring the anatomy of the pelvis to as close to normal as possible. A small incision below the navel allows for the laparoscope, which has a light source attached to it, to be inserted into the abdomen. The abdomen is filled with gas which allows for movement and visual clarity for the surgeon to remove growths and divide adhesions where possible.

The endometriosis spots are burned by an electric current which passes down a probe and fine adhesions are cut with scissors. Since bleeding is minimal during a laparoscopy there is a reduction in the risk of additional adhesion development. Pain levels from this type of surgery are far less than conventional surgery and the hospital stay is shorter. Laparoscopy is generally very safe, however, as with all surgeries, there are risks involved.


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