Our care team will develop a personalized plan to help you control your endometriosis symptoms, address pain and improve your quality of life. At the OHSU Center for Women's Health, you can build a long-term relationship with your team for an optimal approach to this chronic condition.
What is endometriosis?
The lining of your uterus is called the endometrium. Endometriosis is when endometrial tissue grows outside your uterus. This can cause pain during your period, pelvic pain and fertility problems.
In most cases, the tissue grows on your ovaries or other areas in your pelvis. It can also grow on your bowels, bladder, and other organs in your abdomen. In rare cases, endometriosis can even affect organs in your chest.
Who gets endometriosis?
Endometriosis affects about 10% of women ages 20 to 50. Up to half of women with fertility problems have endometriosis. About 75% of women with chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis.
You are seven times more likely have endometriosis if someone in your family has it. However, there are no genetic tests to detect it.
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Portland, OR 97239
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Symptoms of endometriosis vary greatly. The most common are:
- Severe pain with periods, called dysmenorrhea
- Pelvic pain not related to periods
- Pain when you go to the bathroom
- Pain with sex
Our specialists offer complete care for endometriosis. They also meet regularly with providers around the region to share expertise. Services include:
- Gynecologists who are experts in diagnosing and treating endometriosis.
- A pelvic pain clinic that offers pelvic floor physical therapy and pain psychologists.
- An expert nursing team to help you manage your condition at every stage.
- Scheduling options so you can meet with several providers in one day.
- Reproductive endocrinologists to help with fertility concerns.
- Advanced surgery options including minimally invasive surgery and robotic surgery.
- Referrals for alternative pain relief options, including acupuncture, at the Center for Women’s Health.
Endometriosis can be hard to diagnose because:
- Many other pain conditions can cause similar symptoms.
- There are no blood tests to confirm a diagnosis.
- Endometriosis can be invisible in images, like ultrasound, MRIs and CT scans.
Our experts have valuable experience. We see many patients with this condition and are skilled at recognizing the symptoms and excluding other conditions.
When you have a clear diagnosis, you can start getting care and feeling better.
We have screening tests for advanced stages of endometriosis. This includes cases where it spreads to the uterus, ovaries, bladder or bowel. MRIs can measure how severe your disease is. This can help you decide whether to have surgery.
There's no cure for endometriosis. We offer many treatment options to ease your symptoms. We work with you to choose the right option for you, based on your goals. Treatments include:
Hormonal therapy. This is often the first treatment to try. The hormone estrogen in your body can prompt endometriosis to grow. Birth control and other medications that control hormones can stop its growth and reduce pain.
Specialized endometriosis medications. These medications can control the hormone GnRH. This hormone is made in your brain and stimulates your body to make estrogen and progesterone hormones.
Surgery. Surgery is a treatment option if medications don’t reduce your symptoms enough or if you can’t use hormonal medications.
In some cases, we can remove endometriosis without affecting other organs. In other cases, we may recommend removing some organs. With a hysterectomy, we would remove part or all of your uterus. Depending on your symptoms and goals, you may choose to have your ovaries or fallopian tubes removed.
Our providers are also researchers, studying new and promising medications and techniques to care for people like you. We are studying:
- A new non-invasive alternative to surgery.
- A new medication to reduce endometriosis pain.
- The endometrium (lining of the uterus), to better understand the cause of endometriosis and find new treatments.
- A new birth control option especially for people with endometriosis and fibroids.
See more research studies at the Center for Women’s Health.