Endometriosis is a very common, and extremely painful, physical disorder that takes its residence in the tissue of your uterus. There’s over 200,000 cases a year! However …even though it’s that common, the disorder is not talked about often enough. And there are many women who deal with this disorder and may not even know it for years.
Endometriosis has come into the news recently thanks to the US group founded by AbbVie Inc, #MEinEndo*. They are not a healthcare provider, but they are a website that deals with trying to educate women on what Endometriosis is, and how they can recognize it so that they can take care of it.
So What Should You Know?
To start, you should know that an extremely painful period is not normal. Though many women suffer through pain on their periods, there is a point where the pain becomes abnormal. This can be hard to spot, however, especially if you’ve been suffering from Endometriosis for a long time. Many women don’t recognize they have it, and can go untreated for years, though the disorder is treatable to an extent in most cases. If you, your friend, your daughter, or any other woman in your life suspects that they are experiencing pain that’s abnormal during your period week, you should talk to a doctor as soon as you possibly can.
This being said, pain is not always a good indictor. You can suffer from mild Endometriosis, as well, and your pain might not be as severe as it may be in other cases of Endometriosis.
Endometriosis Symptoms Include, But Are Not Limited to:
- Pain in the lower abdomen
- Pain in the lower back
- Pain in the vagina
- Pain in the pelvis and/or rectum
- Abnormal menstruation (such as extremely heavy or irregular menstruation)
- Constipation or Nausea
And, unfortunately, a complication of Endometriosis can be infertility in some cases. Another complication could be the development of Ovarian Cancer.
It’s also important to note that Endometriosis can be hereditary, meaning your mother or another woman in your family may have it as well. And if they have it, there might be more of a chance that you could suffer from it as well.
How Can You Find it?
There are a few ways to find Endometriosis. A doctor may use a pelvic exam, an ultrasound, or laparoscopy.
A pelvic exam will include the doctor physically feeling around your pelvis for any signs of the disorder.
An ultrasound includes a device called a transducer that is either pressed against your abdomen or inserted into your vagina.
A laparoscopy is a surgical procedure that is not usually the first option, but if you’re certain you have Endometriosis, your doctor may go this route.
How Do You Treat it and Can it Go Away?
There is no real cure for Endometriosis, unfortunately. Treatments for the disorder usually include pain pills to help ease the pain, hormonal therapy (such as birth control pills), and some surgeries. In very extreme cases of Endometriosis, your doctor may call for a Hysterectomy, a procedure that takes out the uterus (and the cervix in the form of a total Hysterectomy). However, this is used as a last resort, and is still not a cure. The estrogen your ovaries produce can still cause you pain, and you will still have to either use pain medication or hormone therapy to treat your pain.
#MeInEndo has a great symptom checker and tracker on their website here that you can download and view so that you can better report your personal experience to your doctor.