MN, M.D.: When It Comes To Vaginal Odor, What’s Normal?

April 8, 2013  |  

Q: I’ve heard endometriosis is very common in black women. How do you know if you have it, are there any treatments?

Endometriosis is common in women in general.  Although the disorder can happen to any woman with a menstrual period, it is usually more common in women in their 30s and 40s.  In endometriosis, what happens is  cells that normally line the inside of your uterus are also found outside the uterus (eg, ovaries, fallopian tube).   This ultimately causes someone to experience symptoms such as pelvic pain, painful menstrual cramps, pain during sex, painful bowel movements, spotting between menstrual periods, or even infertility.  It is the most common cause of pelvic pain in females and occurs in 20-25% of women with infertility problems.

If suspected, your doctor will initially examine you for findings pointing to endometriosis.  He/she would then refer you to an OB-GYN doctor who will use a surgical procedure (laparoscopy) to look for the abnormal tissues.  The great thing about laparoscopy is that removal of the tissue can also be done once it is found during the procedure.  For those who continue to have pain, there are several medications that can also be used.  Oral contraceptive is one example that not only acts as a pain reliever, but may also help in reducing the extent of the disease.  If medications do not work, hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be necessary for a severe case of endometriosis.

Dr. Mercy Edionwe is a physician specializing in internal medicine. She earned her medical degree at the University of Texas Medical Branch, and afterwards, completed an internal medicine residency at the University of Arizona in Tucson, AZ. During her free time, she loves to write and educate the public on medical issues. She currently resides in Texas. You can follow her on Twitter at @fuchsiamd.

Disclaimer: The information contained here are intended solely for the general information of the reader.  It is not to be used for treatment purposes, but rather for discussion between you and your physician.  Please consult your physician for further information in regards to your own general care.  Knowledge is power!  Be informed.


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