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Endometriosis – Pelvic Pain, Inflammation & Infertility – Birmingham, AL

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Women experiencing fertility issues between 15 – 45 years of age may have a condition called endometriosis, where the tissues that line the inside of the uterus grow on the outside instead. Endometriosis can be very painful in the pelvic area (especially during sexual intercourse or throughout the menstrual cycle) and can negatively impact the possibility of a healthy pregnancy. At the America Institute of Reproductive Medicine – Alabama (AIRM), we can diagnose endometriosis and help relieve some of the symptoms with surgery to decrease the amount of tissue. Endometriosis is not diagnosed with solely a pelvic exam. Dr. Long may also choose to test with ultrasounds (GE LOGIQ F8 Ultrasound with vaginal probes), a CA 125 blood test, and/or a surgical procedure called a laparoscopy. Since endometriosis consists of layered uterine tissue outside the uterus, this means it is not shed from the body as it normally would during menstruation. The tissue becomes trapped in the abdomen, typically affecting the ovaries, bowels, fallopian tubes, the lining of her pelvis, or bladder. Excising the endometriosis is generally the best way to manage this condition when it is severe. During a private consultation with Dr. Cecil A. Long in Birmingham, AL, you can discuss your symptoms in better detail so that he can assess your condition and learn more about your medical history. 

Diagnostic Testing

Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure for women with unexplained infertility that uses a laparoscope. This small, fiber optic tube with a light and camera is inserted through two or more tiny incisions, usually near or through the belly button, to minimize visible scars on the skin. Once properly placed, the camera on the laparoscope will transmit images to a TV monitor in the operating room for the doctor to view. The laparoscope allows Dr. Long to view the reproductive organs and pelvic cavity to check for scar tissue, uterine tissue on the outside of the uterus, and more. When performing a diagnostic laparoscopy, Dr. Long may decide to correct any issues, such as fibroids or endometriosis, thus changing the procedure from diagnostic only to an operative laparoscopy. We will discuss all the options during your private consultation or pre-surgery appointment.

Treatments Available

Treatment for endometriosis is dependent upon the patient. Dr. Long may offer the following treatments:

  • Hormonal suppression with birth control pills
  • Lupron Depot injections
  • CO2 laser excision
  • Laparoscopy

Choosing surgery:
Before your surgery, we ask that you follow all post-operative instructions given to you by your doctor. You should fast (no food or drink) for at least 12 hours before the surgery time. Please arrange for someone to drive you home after the surgery. We ask that once you are at the clinic, you should try to empty your bladder one hour before surgery. You will receive fluids and medications through an IV in the arm.

Once in the operating room, general anesthesia will be applied through the IV and you will fall asleep. As soon as you are under anesthesia, we may place a breathing tube and/or catheter. The laparoscopy procedure typically takes about 30 – 90 minutes to complete. To achieve the best view of the organs, a hollow needle is inserted into the abdomen and the cavity is inflated with carbon dioxide or nitrous oxide (gas). This process moves the organs away from the abdominal wall for optimum visibility. Once the abdomen is inflated, the laparoscope and/or surgical tools are put through the incisions to diagnose or repair the issues. During the procedure, your doctor may take tissue samples and remove excess tissues. The tools and the gas will be removed, and your small incisions will be stitched and bandaged. Your recovery period will be 3 – 5 days.

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Learn More About Endometriosis

Women who endure the pain from endometriosis may also be ignoring the cause of their infertility. We can offer services and innovative assisted reproductive technologies to help manage endometriosis to increase the chances of a successful conception and pregnancy. If you have been referred by your primary care physician or OBGYN, please call and schedule a consultation. If you suspect you or your loved one is having an infertility issue, Dr. Long would like to help you find answers. Call and schedule your initial appointment at AIRM in Birmingham today.

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