It’s normal to experience pain before and during menstruation. However, pain can also indicate a disorder called Endometriosis, in which the tissue similar to that which lines the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus.
While Endometriosis is common, affecting up to 10% of women in the U.S. each year, many don’t know that they have it. This may be because Endometriosis symptoms are often written off as normal “period pain” or period symptoms. This is dangerous, since Endometriosis can lead to chronic pain, scar tissue and even infertility when left untreated.
You should talk to your doctor about Endometriosis if you are experiencing:
- Extremely painful periods
- Heavy menstrual bleeding
- Lower back and/or lower abdominal pain
- Painful bowel movements
- Pain during or after sex
Less-common symptoms include:
- Painful urination
- Blood in the urine
There are four stages of Endometriosis: minimal, mild, moderate and severe. You don’t have to have all of the symptoms listed above to have Endometriosis. Even experiencing just one or two could indicate a mild or moderate case. That’s why it’s important to consult with a gynecologist if you are experiencing any symptoms.
If you have Endometriosis, there are medical and surgical treatment options that can be tailored based on the severity of symptoms and patient desires.
Surgery involves removing as much of the endometrial tissue as possible while still preserving the reproductive organs. More severe cases may warrant a hysterectomy – removal of the uterus and potentially the cervix and ovaries as well. Taking birth control can provide symptomatic relief for some patients. Undergoing treatment cannot only help relieve symptoms but enhance fertility.
You don’t have to live in pain. Talk to your gynecologist today if you think you may be suffering from Endometriosis. UCF Health offers gynecology services – including expertise in endometriosis – at its Lake Nona and Quadrangle locations.
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