To Your Health

In recognition of National Women’s Health Week (May 12-18, 2002), we chose to focus on three health issues that affect millions of women every day.  While not fatal, each of these conditions can vary in the both the number and severity of symptoms, to the point that, left untreated can, in some cases, become debilitating and can seriously affect a woman’s ability to live a normal life.  In our mothers’ time, they were something you simply had to learn to deal with.  But with the aid of research and technology, steps can be taken and treatments prescribed to improve the quality of life for many suffering women. 

We hope you find this information helpful and if you suspect that one of these conditions applies to you or someone you love, please see your doctor for a professional diagnosis.


Endometriosis is a disease affecting an estimated 77 million women and teens worldwide (1).  It is a leading cause of infertility, chronic pelvic pain and hysterectomy.  With Endometriosis, tissue like the endometrium (the tissue inside the uterus which builds up and is shed each month during menses) is found outside the uterus, in other areas of the body.  These implants respond to hormonal commands each month and break down and bleed.  However, unlike the endometrium, these tissue deposits have no way of leaving the body.  The result is internal bleeding, degeneration of blood and tissue shed from the growths, inflammation of the surrounding areas, expression of irritating enzymes and formation of scar tissue.  In addition, depending on the location of the growths, interference with the bowel, bladder, intestines and other areas of the pelvic cavity can occur.  Endometriosis has even been found lodged in the skin and at other extrapelvic locations like the arm, leg and even brain.

The presence of disease can only be confirmed through surgery like the laparoscopy, but it can be suspected based on symptoms, physical findings and diagnostic tests.

Symptoms include: it is quite possible to have some, all, or none of these symptoms with Endometriosis. 

chronic or intermittent pelvic pain
dysmenorrhea (painful menstruation is not normal!) 
infertility/ miscarriage(s) / ectopic (tubal) pregnancy 
dyspareunia (pain during intercourse) / pain after intercourse 
leg pain 
painful intercourse 
nausea / vomiting 
abdominal cramping 

How is it Treated?
Endo can be treated in many different ways, both surgically and medically. Most commonly, surgery will be performed during which the disease will be excised, cauterized, or otherwise removed, and adhesions will also be freed. When adhesions are present, a woman's organs are literally bound together.

It is extremely important that a woman with Endo obtain treatment from a highly trained Endo treatment provider.   There are many inexperienced physicians out there, sadly enough, who will a.) miss the disease altogether and not perform biopsies on tissue samples to confirm the diagnosis; b.) will confirm the presence of disease but make no attempt to remove it during surgery; or c.) will make the diagnosis, but will remove it in an incomplete or ineffective manner (such as ablation, which has been shown to be relatively ineffective on deep lesions).  Doing so will unfortunately allow the disease to flare again in a relatively short time.  This vicious cycle only requires more surgery thereafter to once again remove adhesions and treat the disease. Starting disease management with an Endo expert in the beginning of treatment can prevent repeat surgeries and ineffective treatment measures.

There are several drugs utilized either alone or in combination with surgery. These include contraceptives, GnRH agonists, and/or synthetic hormones. GnRH agonists (drugs that suppress the manufacture of LH and FSH, hormones required in ovulation) are commonly used on women in all stages of the disease and may sometimes have serious side affects.  Be sure to inform yourself about all aspects of any drug before undergoing therapy with it.


For more information concerning Endometriosis and additional treatment options please visit the following websites:

 www.health4her com/library/concerns/endometriosis.cfm
A definition of endometriosis includes the symptoms, causes, diagnosis and cure.
Endometriosis Research Center website


Are you experiencing any of the following?

·        Irregular periods

·        PMS symptoms

·        Hot flashes and night sweats

·        Insomnia and fatigue

·        Heart palpitations

·        Mood swings

·        Memory problems

·        Fuzzy thinking or inability to concentrate

·        Dry, itchy skin

·        Brittle nails

·        Weight gain

·        Joint pain

·        Irritable bowel syndrome


These are some of the symptoms that may be present during perimenopause.  (**If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms and/or think you may be perimenopausal, please see your doctor for a professional diagnosis**.)

Perimenopause can begin up to a decade before menopause actually begins.  Perimenopause acts like puberty in reverse, with estrogen levels declining rather than increasing as in puberty.  During this time, as in menopause, women’s bodies experience some dramatic changes.  Fortunately, unlike even just a few years ago, there is an incredible amount of information available to women that can help them through this important time of transition.

 Check out the following websites for up-to-date information on perimenopuase and menopause.


North American Menopause Society

            This scientific, non-profit website is focused on promoting women’s health during midlife and beyond.  Topics covered include perimenopause, early menopause, signs and symptoms, and methods of treatment/therapy.


Menopause Online

            If you’re looking to chat with others who are experiencing menopause, this site offers a bulletin board and a live chat room to encourage discussion among women.  Check out “comic relief” for a fun look at some health related experiences common to most women.  Alternative remedies and naturopathic approaches to treatment are also available on this site, as well as articles about other health topics related to women.


Fibroids are benign growths found in the uterus and sometimes the cervix that can cause pain and bleeding and prevent some women from conceiving.  These growths are made of muscle tissue and can range in size from that of a pea to a basketball.  Although it is unknown why these growths arise in the first place, it is known that estrogen plays a role in the growth of these benign tumors.  Approximately one in four women will develop fibroids during her lifetime.

More information on fibroids can be found at the following websites. Publications

            This excellent article, written by a gynecologist, is very readable and contains a minimum of medical jargon.  The article includes a discussion regarding general information on fibroids – development, characteristics, ways to diagnose, and current treatment options.


Health World Online

            At this website you will find an overview of signs and symptoms, treatment options, questions to ask, and some suggestions/recommendations for self-care and ways to prevent fibroids.


Women’s Health Interactive

            Here you will find an interesting list of frequently questions, an overview of causes and symptoms, tests and treatments, and resources for more information.


**If you think you may have fibroids, please see your doctor for a professional diagnosis.**


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If you wish to use this article, in part or whole, please contact them at for their permission.