Woman in yellow shirt lays on couch holding her stomach with stomach pain.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

By A. Mady Ohs, MD

OB/GYN at Norman Regional’s Care for Women – Norman

 

During this time of social distancing and washing my hands as much as possible, I haven’t forgotten that March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month! I’m honored to be able to share with you some information on this condition that affects the quality of life for a lot of women.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs when endometrial tissue (the tissue that sloughs off when a woman has her period) is found on places where it shouldn’t be. This tissue is often called endometrial implants and can be located on many places including the ovaries, fallopian tubes, surfaces inside the belly, outside of the uterus, or behind the uterus. When the hormone, estrogen, increases in the body, these implants may grow and bleed and make nearby areas get irritated and swollen. OUCH! This causes bad pain, especially before and during a woman’s period, during sexual intercourse, and with bowel movements. Endometriosis can also cause inflammation and scarring, which may make it harder for a woman to become pregnant. 

How common is endometriosis?

Endometriosis occurs in 1 out of every 10 women of reproductive age. Almost 40% of women with infertility have endometriosis, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists.

How is endometriosis diagnosed?

A healthcare provider may diagnose endometriosis by asking about symptoms and completing a pelvic exam. The only way to truly confirm this diagnosis is with a surgery called laparoscopy, which involves looking inside the belly with a camera. Treatment with medicine is usually tried first before completing surgery.

What do you do if you have endometriosis?

Endometriosis can be treated, but there is no known cure. Treatment can be with medication, surgery, or both. Medicines include pain relievers that decrease inflammation and hormonal medications.

If you think you are suffering from endometriosis, I’m so sorry for the pain you may be experiencing. Please talk with your doctor for help. You can start by speaking to your primary care doctor if you don’t already have an OB/GYN. If you would prefer to speak with an OB/GYN and don’t already have one, myself or one of my colleagues at Care for Women would be happy to help.

Care for Women has two convenient locations in Norman and Moore. Care for Women – Norman is located inside the West Norman Professional Building at 3400 W. Tecumseh Rd., Suite 205. The Care for Women – Moore office is located inside Norman Regional Moore at 700 S. Telephone Rd., Suite 401.

Providers include myself, Alyssa “Mady” Ohs, MD; Marilyn Appiah, DO; John Cherry, DO; Laurel Jordan, DO; Melisa Dean, MSN, APRN, WHNP-BC, and Amber Wilburn, APRN, WHNP-BC.

You can call 405-793-2229 to schedule an appointment at either office or visit our website to learn more about Care for Women.

How can you raise awareness?

The Endometriosis Association began Endometriosis Awareness Month in 1993. It is now observed worldwide.

The best way to spread awareness about endometriosis is simply to talk about it. Whether you struggle with endometriosis or you know someone who does, it is important to speak out. We must listen and support each other. During our time social distancing, we can start the conversation on social media – not just during the month of March, but every day.