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Endometriosis – Don’t Suffer in Silence: AAGL urges Dr Vigilance and Patient Persistence

Almost 10 million American women between the ages of 16 and 40 suffer chronic pelvic pain, gastrointestinal problems, unitary track problems and infertility due to endometriosis – but this does not have to be the case according to the speakers at the 40th AAGL Global Congress of Minimally Invasive Gynecology November 8th, 2011.

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"Endometriosis is one of the most treatable, but least treated of women's health problems. Like me, many women suffer debilitating pain and other symptoms for as long as a decade before receiving an accurate diagnosis and proper treatment," stated Padma Lakshmi, Key-note speaker, Model, TV personality and co- founder Endometriosis Foundation of America.

Pelvic pain can have many different causes including appendicitis, bowel obstructions, ovarian cysts, pelvic inflammatory disease, diverticulitis, ectopic pregnancy, fibroids, IBS and many others. Correct treatment is often delayed because endometriosis is often not immediately diagnosed.

Endometriosis is a complex condition where the cells that usually line the uterus and produce blood expelled as a menstrual cycle ever month move outside the uterus and start growing on other organs. Treatment of this disease was the focus of this year’s conference.

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For example, in women with endometriosis on the intestines, symptoms may prompt a physician to suggest GI tests, which will not reveal the true problem.
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Lakshmi continues saying: "If a woman wants to have children, it's critical to get an accurate diagnosis and treatment as soon as possible. Endometriosis is one of the top three causes of infertility. Many women are delaying childbearing into their 30s and even 40s these days, but if you have had untreated endometriosis for many years, it may be too late. And that is a real tragedy."

The currently most effective treatment is laparoscopic excision surgery as alternative medical therapies for endometriosis are extremely limited.

Although the cause of endometriosis is unknown, researchers suspect a strong genetic component because daughters of women suffering from the condition have a seven times higher risk of developing the disease themselves.