Endometriosis is a debilitating condition that occurs when the tissue resembling the lining of the uterus (known as endometrial cells) grows outside the uterus, causing a range of symptoms and complications.
This is a moderate or severe disease that often involves the pelvic and abdominal cavity, as the displaced endometrial cells may attach to organs such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or bowel. These implants can trigger an inflammatory response, resulting in adhesions, scar tissue formation, and severe pain.
The impact of endometriosis reaches far beyond physical discomfort. Many women experience infertility, chronic pelvic pain, and a significant decline in their overall quality of life. The American Society for Reproductive Medicine found that 24% to 50% of women with infertility have endometriosis.
Understanding your condition is critical to delivering the best treatment to relieve your symptoms and restore your reproductive health. Here at Maiden Lane Medical, with locations throughout New York City, our expert gynecologists offer expert diagnosis, evaluation, and treatment of endometriosis.
Call us today at Maiden Lane Medical to schedule a consultation and embark on your journey toward managing endometriosis effectively!
What Are The Different Endometriosis Stages?
There are four stages of endometriosis identified by the location, amount, depth, and size of the endometrial tissue. The stages include:
Minimal with few superficial growths
Mild with slightly deeper growths and filmy adhesions
Moderate with many deep growths, some small ovarian cysts, and dense adhesions
Severe with many deep infiltrating growths, large ovarian cysts, very dense adhesions, and multiple organs glued to each other
Other factors that help identify the stage of your condition include how the disease affects your pelvic structures, the extent of the adhesions, and whether or not your fallopian tubes are blocked with endometrial adhesions or scar tissue.
Importantly, the symptoms of endometriosis don’t necessarily intensify with the stage. It’s possible for a woman with stage 1 or 2 endometriosis to have severe pain and other symptoms, while a stage 4 endometriosis patient may be asymptomatic.
The Endometriosis Foundation of America recommends the use of categories instead of stages to describe the type of endometriosis present in the body.
These categories offer more descriptive classifications of endometriosis over the stages, as there are too many variations to provide adequate insight into each patient’s condition or needs.
WHAT ARE THE CATEGORIES OF ENDOMETRIOSIS?
The Endometriosis Foundation of America suggests four descriptive categories. The categories incorporate the necessity and complexity of endometriosis treatment. For example, the more diffuse the endometrial adhesions, the more likely you are to need treatment, including surgery.
CATEGORY I: PERITONEAL ENDOMETRIOSIS
This is the mildest form of visible disease. You have endometrium on your peritoneum — the membrane that lines your abdomen.
CATEGORY II: OVARIAN ENDOMETRIOMAS (CHOCOLATE CYSTS)
CATEGORY III: DEEP INFILTRATING ENDOMETRIOSIS I (DIE I)
The first “deep” category occurs when endometriosis affects other organs and tissue in your pelvic cavity, such as the ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, bladder, and bowel. It can cause severe pain and organ dysfunction, such as a frozen pelvis where multiple organs are stuck or glued to each other.
CATEGORY IV: DEEP INFILTRATING ENDOMETRIOSIS II (DIE II)
This severe form of the disease has adhesions that are so dense, patients are at high risk of needing surgery or experiencing infertility.
Often there is the presence of endometriosis inside and outside your pelvic area. For example, you may have endometrial adhesions or scar tissue on your bowel, appendix, diaphragm, lungs, and heart. In some cases, it can even grow on the brain.
Some groups may refer to category or stage 5 endometriosis when a patient has many dense endometrial adhesions on several organs and is at high risk of needing surgery or experiencing infertility.
These categories can help your physician explain your condition and identify the best treatment.
HOW DO I KNOW WHAT STAGE OR TYPE OF ENDOMETRIOSIS I HAVE?
The Maiden Lane Medical gynecologists provide comprehensive testing to diagnose and assess your condition. They may suggest a diagnostic imaging study such as an ultrasound, MRI, or CT scan to examine your pelvic organs in detail.
While under anesthesia, your surgeon inserts a camera into your abdomen, sending images from inside your body to a monitor in the operating room that the surgeon can view.
WHAT HAPPENS IF ENDOMETRIOSIS IS LEFT UNTREATED?
If you have suspected endometriosis with few or no symptoms (mild or asymptomatic endometriosis), your doctor may suggest waiting and watching. However, you may need treatment if your adhesions are causing pain, bowel blockages, or fertility problems.
Untreated, symptomatic endometriosis can lead to worsening generalized pain, pain with sex, organ dysfunction, or fertility problems — all of which can severely impact your quality of life.
ARE THE TREATMENTS FOR THE VARIOUS STAGES AND TYPES OF ENDOMETRIOSIS DIFFERENT?
Yes, the health professionals at Maiden Lane Medical provide customized treatment plans for endometriosis. Depending on the results of your exams and tests, your gynecologist may recommend:
- Watchful waiting
- Fertility testing
- Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories
- Hormonal medications (birth control pills)
- Surgery such as endometriosis resection or hysterectomy
SCHEDULE AN APPOINTMENT WITH MAIDEN LANE MEDICAL TODAY!
By recognizing the symptoms of endometriosis, seeking an early diagnosis, and partnering with knowledgeable medical professionals, individuals can effectively manage the challenges posed by endometriosis.
At Maiden Lane Medical, we specialize in providing comprehensive care for patients with endometriosis, including severe endometriosis. If you are experiencing any endometriosis symptoms, such as chronic pelvic pain, fertility issues, or disruptions in your menstrual cycle, don’t hesitate to reach out to us today.
Call Maiden Lane Medical or make an appointment online today and take the first step towards finding relief from the challenges of endometriosis.