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Starting July 30, 2024 we're moving to 300 Hickman Rd, Ste. 301, Charlottesville, 22911. Less than 1 mile from our current/old office! Last day at Peter Jefferson Parkway location is July 25, 2024.

Starting July 30, 2024 we're moving to 300 Hickman Rd, Ste. 301, Charlottesville, 22911. Less than 1 mile from our current/old office! Last day at Peter Jefferson Parkway location is July 25, 2024.

Endometriosis Services in Charlottesville, Virginia

Receive compassionate care in a safe environment for your gynecological health.

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What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a chronic medical condition that occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) grows outside the uterus. This tissue can be found on various pelvic organs, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the lining of the abdominal cavity.

The condition can cause a variety of symptoms, including pelvic pain, painful menstrual periods, pain during intercourse, and potentially fertility problems. It also can affect bowel function, bladder function, the immune system, severe exhaustion, positional orthostatic hypotension, and as a result, impact mental health. The exact cause of endometriosis is not fully understood, but genetics, hormonal factors, and immune system dysfunction are believed to play a role.

Treatment for endometriosis can reduce or eliminate symptoms. Common treatment options include pain medications; hormone medications and minimally invasive surgical procedures to ideally remove endometriosis In some cases, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) is recommended at the time of excision surgery.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

The symptoms of endometriosis can include the following, but this list is not exhaustive. If you have endometriosis, you might experience all of the symptoms or only a few at a time.

  • Pelvic pain
  • Very painful menstrual cramps during your period (dysmenorrhea)
  • Pain during or after intercourse (dyspareunia)
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms (bloating, diarrhea, constipation)
  • Fatigue
  • Infertility or difficulty conceiving
  • Painful urination, and pain with a full bladder-especially during menstruation
  • Lower back pain
  • Painful bowel movements during menstruation

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

During your consultation, your provider will ask about symptoms you have been experiencing, conduct a pelvic exam, and usually complete an endometriosis-focused vaginal ultrasound. While a pelvic ultrasound cannot rule out endometriosis, it can rule it in and determine if there is bladder, bowel, or ovarian involvement for appropriate counseling and surgical planning. The most definitive way to diagnose endometriosis is through a laparoscopy, a surgical procedure where a thin camera lens is inserted into the abdomen. At the Center for Advanced Gynecology, you will never have a diagnostic laparoscopy. We believe any laparoscopy should plan for treatment-resection of endometriosis- at the same time.

Treatment Services For Endometriosis

Depending on the severity of your symptoms, there are a variety of potential treatment options to reduce or eliminate symptoms and improve your quality of life. These can include:

Pain Medications: Over-the-counter pain relievers (such as ibuprofen) can help manage pain and discomfort. We try to avoid opioid pain medications for long-term use.

Hormone Therapy: Hormone treatments such as birth control pills, progestin-only pills, estrogen-suppressing medications, or hormonal IUDs can regulate or stop menstrual cycles and potentially reduce endometriosis growth and inflammation.

Laparoscopic Surgery: This minimally invasive surgery is the gold standard treatment for endometriosis and what we specialize in at the Center for Advanced Gynecology Charlottesville. Laparoscopy is indicated if symptoms are not relieved by hormonal medications or for infertility.

Hysterectomy: In severe cases where there is uterine-specific pain, the uterus has developed endometriosis or adenomyosis, or when other treatments are ineffective, removal of the uterus and possibly the ovaries might be recommended but ALWAYS with excision of endometriosis at the same time.

Lifestyle Changes: Diet modification and exercise can sometimes provide symptom relief. Including anti-inflammatory supplements.

If your provider suspects you have endometriosis, treatment will be highly personalized based on your specific needs and symptoms.

What To Expect

Your provider will conduct a medical evaluation and pelvic exam during your initial consultation. They will also ask questions about your specific symptoms. Imaging studies, such as an ultrasound or MRI might be scheduled. If endometriosis is suspected, a laparoscopy procedure might be recommended.

Based on the evaluation, your provider will discuss your treatment options, explaining the benefits, risks, and potential side effects of each.

What are the Risks of Endometriosis Treatment?

The risks of endometriosis treatment can include side effects from medications, surgical complications such as infection or bleeding (although this is rare), hormonal changes, and potential impact on fertility. Your provider will thoroughly discuss any potential risks with you before beginning treatment.

Why Choose The Center For Advanced Gynecology

The Center for Advanced Gynecology, established in 2018, is dedicated to improving your health by offering expertise in various areas, with a specific focus on laparoscopic excision of endometriosis when surgery is needed.

Our team also provides specialized expertise in non-surgical treatment of chronic pelvic pain, painful intercourse, pudendal neuralgia, and vaginal, vulvar, and bladder pain.

Frequently Asked Questions

While endometriosis is considered a chronic condition without a definitive cure, it can often be effectively managed with medical treatments, lifestyle changes, or surgery. The goal of treating endometriosis is to alleviate symptoms, reduce the progression of the disease, and improve your overall quality of life.

Not every person who has endometriosis needs laparoscopic surgery. However, if you are found to be a candidate for surgery, the recovery typically takes 10-14 days until you can resume your normal activities.

Managing endometriosis pain daily can involve a combination of strategies, including:

  • Over-the-counter pain relievers (under the guidance of your provider)
  • Heat therapy with heating pads or warm baths to soothe abdominal discomfort
  • Gentle exercise, such as yoga or walking, which can alleviate muscle tension and improve circulation
  • Stress reduction techniques like deep breathing, meditation, or relaxation exercises
  • Prescription medications or hormonal therapies prescribed by your provider
  • Adequate rest and sleep to support overall well-being
  • TENS unit
  • Anti-inflammatory supplements (i.e. Circumen, NAC, ginger, camomile)
  • Tracking symptoms and pain patterns to better understand triggers and plan accordingly

Maintaining a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains and reducing your intake of processed foods can potentially reduce inflammation and pain - as can regular exercise and practicing stress management techniques. Your provider will create a personalized treatment plan based on your symptoms and if needed, offer guidance on incorporating any lifestyle changes into your daily routine.

Yes, endometriosis can cause infertility, since endometriosis lesions in the pelvic area can lead to inflammation and scar tissue that affects the functioning of the ovaries, uterus, and fallopian tubes. However, not all individuals with endometriosis experience infertility and several treatment options are available to increase your chance of fertility if you have endometriosis.