Steubenville, Ohio–March 30, 2023–Before we bid farewell to March, Trinity Health System would like to draw attention to National Endometriosis Awareness Month.
What is endometriosis?
Here are a few facts right out of the gate, courtesy of Dr. Blaise Milburn, Obstetrics and Gynecology, Trinity Health System:
- Endometriosis is the number-one cause of female infertility in women with regular monthly cycles.
- Endometriosis is a chronic disease that may need multiple surgeries in a patient’s reproductive life.
- Endometriosis is only diagnosed surgically and only definitively treated surgically.
- Excision is the surgical method with the lowest chance of recurrence.
- There is no known definitive cause of endometriosis, only theories as to why it occurs.
- Any woman from teenagers to perimenopause patients can experience pelvic pain from endometriosis.
- The average waiting time from onset of symptoms until diagnosis of disease is seven to 10 years.
- Endometriosis is the most common cause of painful periods and infertility in reproductive-aged women.
Who is Dr. Blaise Milburn?
Dr. Blaise Milburn is the only surgeon within a several-hour radius who performs laser excision for endometriosis.
He has had patients from Ohio to eastern Virginia and all points in between seeking his care.
Dr. Milburn’s ultimate goal is to fix the underlying cause of the patient’s symptoms in order to enhance quality of life, restore fertility, and achieve pregnancy, if desired.
We recently did a Q&A with him, in which he provided even greater insight into the disease and his work on behalf of patients and their families.
- Please explain to the layperson what laser excision surgery is and why it is superior to other surgeries for endometriosis.
Dr. Milburn: Laser surgery for endometriosis is performed laparoscopically through small incisions and is a very precise and delicate way to vaporize and excise the disease.
This disease is found anywhere in the pelvis and oftentimes is laying against or invading very important vessels, cavities, or the ureters.
Use of the laser enables the surgeon to excise the disease very carefully and precisely with the least spread of damage to adjacent structures. Thus, healthy tissue is preserved, and injuries to other structures are minimized.
- What are some of your personal experiences with patients who have had this surgery?
Dr. Milburn: I have had patients with multiple miscarriages or years of infertility that have gone to many different doctors and have had the “million-dollar work-up” that have made their way to me and have broken down in front of me in the office due to their despair over their suffering.
Usually these patients have endometriosis, and it hasn’t even been brought up to them once in their many appointments with their physicians, and certainly a laparoscopy was never mentioned.
After treating their disease and sometimes delivering their babies that resulted after the surgery, I can’t imagine more rewarding work in medicine.
- Please explain how your faith informs your medical expertise.
My faith informs everything I do in my life and certainly my medical practice.
I was drawn to OBGYN in medical school–and even before I started school–due to the life issues in the field. I am a devout Catholic and strongly pro-life.
As such, I felt called to provide women with an alternative approach to what a secular culture provides, in which abortion is pushed and promoted, along with contraception, sterilization, and artificial reproductive technologies.
I concluded that if someone who feels as strongly as I do about these issues doesn’t step up to provide the alternative, then who am I expecting to step up to provide it in my place?
- What’s the key message you would like to communicate to our community about endometriosis?
If you’re suffering with pelvic pain, pain with intercourse, pain with periods, and the infertility that is associated with it, then you have a chance at diagnosis and treatment.
You don’t need to suffer and be offered band-aid interventions of various contraceptives for years that delay definitive treatment and subsequent relief.