Newswise — Tara Alonzo had suffered from the pain of endometriosis since experiencing her first menstrual period at the age of 12. By the time she had reached her 20s, the pain had become debilitating and was impacting her day-to-day life. 

Endometriosis is an often painful disorder in women of reproductive age in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside. 

Symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Painful periods – Pelvic pain and cramping that can begin before your period and extend several days into your period. Patients also report lower back and abdominal pain.
  • Pain with intercourse
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination
  • Excessive bleeding – Includes bleeding between periods
  • Infertility
  • Other symptoms – fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods

"I would have to call off sick from work," said Ms. Alonzo, age 26. "There was at least one or two days where I was completely immobilized in bed. I didn't want to eat. I felt sick. It was extremely painful."

Visits to multiple doctors near her home of LaSalle, Illinois, yielded no relief and Ms. Alonzo began to consider the drastic choice of undergoing a hysterectomy. Finally, a doctor near her hometown suggested Ms. Alonzo get a second opinion with Linda Yang, MD, FACOG at the Loyola Center for Health at Elmhurst

Watch Ms. Alonzo's story

Dr. Yang recommended a laparoscopic procedure to evaluate and remove the endometriosis. The procedure lasted 90 minutes and was done in an outpatient setting at the Loyola Outpatient Center in Maywood, allowing Ms. Alonzo to return home that day. 

"Endometriosis is a common condition, but it's chronic," Dr. Yang said. "We try to focus on next steps that can be taken to treat the endometriosis rather than give her pain medications or move away from the problem."

Months after the procedure, Ms. Alonzo is able to better enjoy her life with her endometriosis symptoms significantly improved. 

"Dr. Yang was so kind," Ms. Alonzo said. "I understand why she works where she works. Everyone at Loyola is kind and helpful and they really care about your well-being. It's not just a saying."

Loyola provides truly integrated clinical care for women needing gynecologic surgery, bringing together specialists in gynecology, gynecologic surgery, female pelvic health and reconstructive surgery and urogynecology to provide women with advanced care in a compassionate environment.