What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which the tissue that should be on the inside of the uterus is on the outside. It can affect the bowel or bladder, as well as all other pelvic organs. This condition affects 10% of women and can be very painful, causing problems as the endometrial-like tissue thickens during the menstrual cycle each month. Normally the body would shed the tissues, but with endometriosis, the tissue becomes inflamed and irritated, causing severe pain and cramps, as well as irregular bleeding, painful intercourse, and often pain with urination and bowel movements. Endometriosis can lead to adhesions and even infertility.

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How is Endometriosis Treated?

While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments that can significantly help you manage your symptoms. The first course of action for endometriosis is usually oral or injectable medication. Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs are typical, as well as hormone therapy. We now have newer medications, including Orilissa®, that help to lower estrogen levels and decrease stimulation of the endometriosis. 

When a patient isn’t finding relief from medical therapy, surgery is usually the next option. Whether or not surgery is recommended for a patient will depend on that unique patient’s fertility goals. Often, treatment of endometriosis with surgery can increase a patient’s chances of getting pregnant. However, if a patient with endometriosis has finished having children, a hysterectomy may be recommended, especially if they have adenomyosis of the uterus, which is endometriosis involving the uterus and causes pain and bleeding. Every patient is different, and each case will vary. 

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Dr. Lisa Jukes: Endometriosis Specialist

Dr. Jukes specializes in both the surgical and medical management of endometriosis, and is well-versed in the newest advancements in these fields. Medical advancements include Orilissa, an oral medication for which Dr. Jukes is a speaker, and surgical advancements include the da Vinci® robotic surgical system employing Firefly™ Fluorescence Imaging. Firefly is an FDA-approved imaging tool for visual assessment of vessels, blood flow, and related tissue perfusion using near-infrared imaging.

The da Vinci robotic surgical system helps Dr. Jukes identify endometriosis with its 3D optics. She will excise the endometriosis rather than just ablate it, as studies have shown that this improves the outcome for patients rather than simply burning it. 

Common Symptoms of Endometriosis

Estrogen fuels the growth of lesions, which then bleed and break down. This is what causes painful endometriosis symptoms. The most common symptoms include:

  • Pain in the pelvic area and lower back, especially around period
  • Painful intercourse
  • Painful bowel movement
  • Pain when urinating
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Bleeding/spotting between menstrual periods
  • Inability to get pregnant
  • Gastrointestinal symptoms during your period (constipation, bloating, diarrhea, nausea)

Diagnosis of Endometriosis

Pelvic pain can have many causes, which can make diagnosing endometriosis difficult. In order to make a proper diagnosis, Dr. Jukes will perform a complete physical exam (which may include a pelvic check to look for any large lesions or scars around your uterus). She may also order imaging such as an ultrasound or laparoscopy to see if lesions and scars are present.

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Methods for Endometriosis Surgery

The da Vinci Surgical System

The da Vinci surgical system is the least invasive surgical option, and allows Dr. Jukes to have very detailed control during endometriosis treatment. She will use small, robotic “arms” to remove the endometrial tissue after tiny incisions have been made. These robotic arms are combined with high-definition, three-dimensional cameras for optimal precision.

Dr. Jukes will operate the robotic arms from a console, controlling each move with skill, knowledge, and experience. There are many benefits to the da Vinci surgical system. Smaller incisions mean smaller scars; there is a shorter recovery period; lower risk of infection, and less discomfort.

Dr. Jukes is one of the top da Vinci vaginal surgeons in the nation, and trains other physicians on the system. She is fortunate to serve as a referral service all over Texas for patients with endometriosis seeking management. 

Why Choose Modern Women’s Health?

At Modern Women’s Health, our primary focus is on overall wellness for women. No matter what you need — whether it’s endometriosis diagnosis and treatment or a simple Pap smear — we have you covered. We even offer aesthetic treatments. Our mission is to provide comprehensive health services for women and their families, all in one place. Founder Dr. Lisa Jukes is a highly respected figure in her community and a board-certified gynecologist who has established a sophisticated, modern one-stop-shop for women where female providers offer services for female needs. 

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