What Happens If You Have Endometriosis, a Cause of Chronic Pelvic Pain

stomach-pain-article-2Chronic pelvic pain can be caused by numerous conditions and can sometimes be very difficult to diagnose.  One cause of chronic pelvic pain is endometriosis, which is many times overlooked in women.  Endometriosis has been called “the great masquerader” because it can present many different symptoms.

Endometriosis is when the endometrium, or the tissue and glands that line the uterus, is found outside the uterine cavity.  Endometriosis may cause painful periods, painful intercourse, and infertility.  The pain usually lasts more than 6 months and can be located deep in the pelvis or in the lower abdomen.  It can occur intermittently throughout the menstrual cycle or continuously.

Before attributing pelvic pain to endometriosis, one must rule out bladder, bowel, musculoskeletal, and psychiatric causes.  In order to definitely diagnose endometriosis, a patient must have minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery to visualize the endometrial implants outside the uterus.  During the surgery, the endometrial lesions can be treated in a variety of ways.

The symptoms of endometriosis can be treated medically with pain medications like Motrin, hormonal therapy such as birth control pills, or the Depo-Provera injection.  If you or someone you know is suffering from chronic pelvic pain, please speak to your health care provider to see if endometriosis may be the cause!

-Dr. P

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What Factors Place Adolescents at an Increased Risk of Developing STIs?

Young women are at a high risk of acquiring STIs (sexually transmitted infections) and of developing the serious complications of untreated chlamydial and gonococcal infections.  Almost half of all STIs occur in teenagers and young adults between the ages of 15 and 25.  Physical and behavioral factors place the sexually active teenager at an increased risk to develop these infections.

Physically, the cervix is more vulnerable to these infections because it has not fully developed, exposing more susceptible cells to the infections.  Since the young woman may be coming into contact with these infectious agents for the first time, her immune defenses are not strong.

Behavioral risk factors include having multiple new sexual partners and not using condoms or not using condoms properly.  The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has a goal to increase the simultaneous use of both condoms and hormonal contraception (birth control pills).  This combination of methods is highly effective in preventing a pregnancy and preventing the acquisition of STIs.  Yet currently, some studies reveal that only about 5% of adolescent females are using this practice.

-Dr. P

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