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Women experiencing pelvic pain, heavy menstrual bleeding, painful bowel movements and other discomforts in the lower abdomen and pelvis may have a gynecological disorder called endometriosis. The pain is caused by the endometrium, which normally lines the inside of the uterus, beginning to grow outside of it instead.

Along with severe pain, endometriosis can lead to scarring in the pelvis, infertility, certain ovarian cysts (called ‘endometriomas’) and other gynecological problems. However, there are treatment options to manage symptoms and avoid further complications.

Pain medication

Your gynecologist may recommend taking anti-inflammatory drugs like Advil or Aleve to ease the pain. However, for some patients, simply taking over-the-counter pain relievers isn’t enough. If this is the case, you may have to turn to other options.

Home remedies

Pain can also be reduced with home remedies, such as warm baths or heating pads. Heat applied to the area will help relax the pelvic muscles and reduce the pain caused by cramping, especially during menstruation. However, this method only relieves pain temporarily and does not last long-term.

Hormone therapy

The symptoms of endometriosis can sometimes be controlled with hormone therapy options, such as birth control pills or contraceptive implants. Hormone medication can help limit the abnormal tissue growth, reduce pain during the menstrual cycle or even eliminate it altogether.

Surgical procedures

If conservative therapies do not work, or you are trying to become pregnant, surgery may be the best option. There are several different surgical options and treatments available for those interested in a permanent solution or those who need help conceiving:

* Laparoscopic surgery: the removal of endometriosis, endometriomas, and scar tissue through small incisions (preferred method for those wanting to conceive)

* Hysterectomy: the removal of the uterus and/or ovaries, removing the source of the tissue and the hormones that provide support.

If you believe you may be suffering from endometriosis, talk to your gynecologist about scheduling an exam.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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