Endometriosis is a disease where cells, similar to the ones that line the inside of the uterus, actually grow outside of the uterus.

“It causes pain because of inflammation, and also because of scarring,” said Dr. Kenneth Barron,  with the Center for Advanced Gynecology.

Unfortunately, there’s no great way to prevent endometriosis.  Instead, focus should be placed on detection, as it can often be missed.

“Severe painful periods where you are missing school, or someone is vomiting, having diarrhea, that’s not normal, and not enough young woman are told it’s not normal,” said Dr. Barron.

The above are some of the most common signs that there could be a problem.  Anyone who has begun menstruation can be diagnosed with the disease.  Dr. Barron says that endometriosis is a fairly common problem with studies showing that one of out every 10 women suffers. 

The good news is, there are treatment options.

“The first line of treatment is usually to try to suppress the cyclical inflammation with hormonal treatments, so a birth control pill,” said Dr. Barron.

If that doesn’t work, there are surgical options too.

“I believe excision is the best method, where you actually cut out the disease,” noted Dr. Barron.

“There are several ways to do the procedure.  However, I use a CO2 laser as a method of doing that because it doesn’t penetrate very deeply and you can be very precise in what you are removing.  There’s the least damage to tissue underneath the disease and you can also remove all of the disease so there is a much lower risk of recurrence.”

For more information on this topic or Dr. Barron, please call 1-800-SENTARA. If you have a question about your health you’d like us to answer, please email healthquestions@nbc29.com