Using Laparoscopy to Treat Endometriosis

Menstrual cramps, heavy menstrual bleeding, and stomach problems are common symptoms that plague many women and may develop from any number of causes. Though endometriosis affects more than 6 million women in the United States, the common gynecological condition often goes undiagnosed for years. 

Our OB/GYN expert, Dr. Lena Speck Hopkins, is an endometriosis specialist. She not only provides women with the accurate diagnosis they need to explain their symptoms, but also offers laparoscopy to treat it. 

What you need to know about endometriosis

Every month, the lining of your uterus (called the endometrium) grows additional endometrial tissue in preparation for possible pregnancy. When pregnancy doesn’t occur, your uterus sheds the endometrium through menstrual bleeding.

For women with endometriosis, tissue similar to the uterine lining grows in other areas in the pelvic region, including outside the uterus, along the fallopian tubes, and on the ovaries. Some women may also develop endometrial growths on their vagina, cervix, bladder, or bowel. 

Like the endometrium that lines your uterus, the growths found outside your womb may swell and bleed during your period, but may be unable to exit your body. Over time, the accumulation of blood and tissue may block your fallopian tubes, increase abdominal inflammation and swelling, and cause scar tissue that may affect your ability to conceive. 

Using laparoscopy to treat endometriosis

Endometriosis is most often diagnosed after all other gynecological conditions to explain your symptoms have been ruled out. However, the only way to confirm that you have endometriosis is through a diagnostic laparoscopy.

During the procedure, Dr. Speck Hopkins inserts a surgical camera, called a laparoscope, through a small incision in your abdomen to evaluate your reproductive organs and look for signs of endometrial overgrowths. She may take samples of abnormal tissue for testing.

However, if endometriosis is identified during your diagnostic laparoscopy, she may also surgically remove all visible endometrial growths, as well as scar tissue that may be causing pain or infertility. 

Laparoscopy is an outpatient procedure that takes about 30-45 minutes, and you need to take it easy for a week or more afterward to allow your body to heal.

The benefits of laparoscopy for endometriosis

Though results vary, many women experience a significant improvement in their symptoms after their laparoscopic procedure for endometriosis. To prolong the benefits of your surgery, we may recommend medical interventions, including hormone therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and lifestyle changes. 

For women struggling with infertility, laparoscopy for moderate-to-severe cases of endometriosis may increase your chances of conception. 

Laparoscopy for endometriosis is a minimally invasive approach to diagnose and treat this common and painful condition. If you’re struggling to get answers to your gynecological questions, we can help. Call our office in Harlingen, Texas, to make an appointment.

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