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Advanced Endometriosis - Symptoms and Treatment

The classic symptoms associated with endometriosis are painful, irregular periods, pelvic pain and infertility; they vary from one woman to the next. The severity and extent of the symptoms have no association with the severity and extent of the disease, so a woman with Stage IV, advanced endometriosis may have no symptoms while a woman with Stage I endometriosis may have debilitating symptoms.

The classic symptoms of endometriosis are pelvic pain, heavy or irregular periods and infertility. If the bowel or rectum is affected, there could be additional symptoms of painful intercourse, lower pelvic pain and painful bowel movements. These symptoms will typically occur, or be more pronounced, just before a period is due and for the first few days of a period. It is the cramping pain which takes most patients to the doctor although for some women, it is their problem with falling pregnant. Doctors believe that endometriosis doesn't cause infertility but it has definitely been shown to contribute to it. In fact, between 40% and 50% of women with fertility problems also have endometriosis.

Because the endometrial lesions and adhesions are more extensive, more widely spread and more deeply implanted with advanced endometriosis, the organs and ligaments within the pelvic cavity can be adhered together. Thus prevents the normal movement of the affected organs and can be a contributing cause of infertility as well as severe pain.

There are several endometriosis treatment options available to the doctor or gynecologist. If the endometriosis has progressed to the advanced stage, the treatment chosen will possibly be more aggressive than it would be for milder cases. Many women have found that a combination of different treatments is the most effective method to control their symptoms and reduce the endometrial implants.

Your doctor might prescribe oral contraceptives or other hormone treatment. Surgery may be advised, which could be as simple as laparoscopy surgery or as radical as a hysterectomy. The ovaries can be surgically removed, which will diminish the endometriosis. It all depends on your age, medical history and whether you want to have children.

As well as following your doctor's treatment, there are other strategies you can employ yourself to help with advanced endometriosis treatment. Adopt an attitude of being prepared to make some lifestyle changes so that you can strengthen your immune system and improve your general health.

There are certain elements of your diet that can help relieve your symptoms. You will find some strategies work better than others for you – everyone is different. Include more whole foods in your diet; do this by reducing or eliminating highly processed and refined foods, fast food and pre-prepared meals. Introduce more green leafy and colored vegetables and eat some of these raw. Foods that are high in essential fatty acids are great; include cold water fish, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Some women find that eliminating dairy foods completely from their diet has a profound effect on the severity of their symptoms, so definitely give this a try. Body fat is source of estrogen, so losing a few excess pounds can help your symptoms. Regular exercise will help lose weight and improve your stamina.

There are several alternate therapies that can help advanced endometriosis symptoms. Many women find acupuncture, Traditional Chinese Medicine, herbal medicine and aromatherapy massage to be very beneficial. You might like to seek advice from a Naturopath or Homeopath to get some help with strengthening your immune system and reducing your symptoms.

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