Endometriosis Specialist

Lena Speck Hopkins, MD

OB/Gyn & Medical Spa located in Harlingen, TX

Endometriosis affects about one out of every 10 women worldwide, according to the Endometriosis Foundation of America. But endometriosis can often go undiagnosed because symptoms like pelvic pain, heavy periods, and severe menstrual cramps are also associated with other conditions. Lena Speck Hopkins, MD, is an experienced OB/GYN who is skilled at correctly diagnosing endometriosis; she’s also an expert at medical management and laparoscopic treatment of the disease. To schedule a consultation, call the Harlingen, Texas office, or book an appointment online today.

Endometriosis Q & A

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of your uterus, known as the endometrium, begins to grow outside of the uterus. This abnormal uterine tissue thickens during your cycle just as it does inside your uterus, and it also bleeds when you have your period.

The ovaries, Fallopian tubes, and other structures within the pelvis are the most common areas where this abnormal growth of uterine tissue occurs. Less commonly, endometriosis can affect the bladder, intestines, appendix, bowel, and rectum. In rare cases, uterine tissue may grow on the organs outside of the abdominal cavity, such as the brain or lungs.

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

You may want to talk to your doctor about endometriosis if you have any of the following symptoms:

  • Severe menstrual cramps
  • Pelvic pain
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Painful bowel movements
  • Painful urination
  • Chronic fatigue

Severe endometriosis may cause infertility, chronic fatigue, and urinary or bowel dysfunction.

What causes endometriosis?

Researchers don’t know exactly what causes endometriosis. Women who have never given birth, have a family history of endometriosis, or certain autoimmune conditions have an increased risk for the disease.

How does a doctor diagnose endometriosis?

Dr. Speck Hopkins has the training and experience to diagnose endometriosis accurately. She will begin with a pelvic exam and take a detailed health history. She will also order some tests, such as an ultrasound, a pelvic/abdominal MRI, or a tissue biopsy

How is endometriosis treated?

Endometriosis treatment depends on the severity of the condition and individual factors, such as your personal health history and whether or not you wish to become pregnant in the future.

Treatment options include:

Medical management

Hormone therapy, anti-inflammatory medication, and pain medication together with lifestyle changes can reduce the impact endometriosis has on your quality of life.

Laparoscopy

This minimally invasive surgical procedure uses a slender surgical tool and a tiny video camera. It requires much smaller incisions than traditional surgery, is less painful, and has a shorter recovery period. Laparoscopic surgery may restore fertility in some patients.

For severe endometriosis, traditional surgery may be needed, but some surgical options such as hysterectomy do result in permanent loss of fertility.

To find out more, call Lena Speck Hopkins, MD, today, or book an appointment online.