Endometriomas are pelvic masses or cysts that arise from the ovary. They are often blood filled and have a thick dark chocolate consistency, hence their name “chocolate cyst.” They are made up of abberent endometrial cells that bleed during the monthly cycle, as a result of hormone changes. These cysts are often seen in conjunction with surrounding endometriosis. If left untreated they can become quite large and engulf or overtake the ovary. Symptoms include pelvic pain, and painful periods. Surgery for removal is the treatment of choice.
This past week in the LA Times there was an article in the Health Section regarding the increased reliance upon alternative therapies ie accupuncture, herbs, supplements, massage therapies etc. These therapies can be excellent for treating many ancillary symptoms but often do not get to the core problem behind the diagnosis. Always keep in mind, treating the root of the problem is the best way to go. Many women call our office with symptoms of heavy bleeding, painful periods, back pain who have been offered medications and/or therapies that do not address the reason for the symptoms….(ie fibroids, adenomyosis or endometriosis. ) Remember, seek out the solution that has the best outcome for your diagnosis, not just the symptoms….and dont delay treatment.
Traditional medicine has routinely rcommended removal of the uterus, hysterectomy, for uterine and ovarian malignancy, however physicians also advocate hysterectomy for benign diseases like fibroids, adenomyosis, and endometriosis. Recent studies (LA Times article, published August 10, 2009 entitled “Staying Fertile after Cancer”) on Stage 1 ovarian cancer patients have found that preserving the uterus and unaffected ovary have the same 5 year survival rates as removing all organs. If medicine is changing to reduce hysterectomies for certain cancers, lets hope they will eventually see the need to prevent hysterectomy for benign diseases as well.
Many of our patients try supplements and herbal formulas prior to seeking a medical consultation. Although these therapies can help reduce symptoms temporarily, they will become ineffective over time as the disease spreads. Supplements and herbal formulas are not regulated by the FDA and therefore quality, strength and dosage cannot be guaranteed. Delaying appropriate treatment can sometimes be detrimental. Fibroid tumors, adenomyosis and endometriosis all require surgery is remove the disease…treating symptoms does nothing to treat the condition or the tumors. Using these alternative therapies, after surgery , may be helpful in preventing recurrence, but should not be the only source of treatment. Consult your physician and do some research about what is the best course of treatment for your disease.
We have rececently received many calls and emails about this disease. First let me say,we do NOT recommend hysterectomy for endometriosis. This is a disease that requires aggressive treatment, but removing the uterus is not one of them. Most patients get labelled with this diagnosis based solely on signs and symptoms ie: painful periods, cramping, bloating. Endometriosis is a microscopic condition…it does not show up on diagnostic testing like ultrasound, MRI or CTScan. Your doctor must be able to see the implants to confirm the presents of the disease. In order to confirm a diagnosis the patient will need surgery. If you think you might have this disease, contact your doctor for a consultation. Early diagnosis and treatment are critical with Endometriosis.