Since the beginning of time, women have been learning to deal with cramping and all the other symptoms that come with your menstrual cycle. Some women feel immense pain, cramps, bloating, and overall exhaustion with their period, while some can feel almost nothing at all. Others, however, feel a far more intense and significant pain with their cycle every month – and endometriosis could be to blame.
Beyond the run-of-the-mill cramps that can be alleviated with Tylenol and heating pads, women who suffer from endometriosis report a more severe pain in their pelvic area that can get worse over time. The condition known as endometriosis is characterized by the tissue that is usually within your uterus found growing outside the uterus. The condition may involve the ovaries and fallopian tubes, making it more difficult to conceive a child. More on that later.
With every menstrual cycle, a woman sheds the inner lining of her uterine wall. However, when endometriosis is present, the lining continues to build up outside the uterus.
Although the pain associated with endometriosis can sometimes be mistaken for a regular period or another pelvic condition like pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), it is usually far worse and gets worse as the tissue continues to build up outside the uterus as it causes internal damage and leads to the development of scar tissue and adhesions.
In addition to pelvic pain, what else might you consider if you suspect endometriosis? If you’ve never had children, have low levels of body fat, regularly consume excess alcohol, or have a family history of endometriosis – you have a greater than average risk of developing endometriosis at some point in your life.
In order for your doctor to properly examine you, evaluate your symptoms, and diagnose you accurately, there are a series of tests you will need to undergo. First, a pelvic exam will be ordered. This can help rule out other conditions like PID, but also it can give the doctor an idea of whether there are any abnormalities or cysts around your reproductive organs.
Your doctor will likely also order more extensive imaging like an ultrasound and MRI. This can help determine the extent (if any) of damage to your uterus and the surrounding areas – especially if cysts or other tissue are growing in the area. Your doctor may recommend going in laparoscopically to assess any damage.
Should your doctor determine that you have endometriosis, treatment focused on relieving your symptoms is generally the first tact. Nonsteroidal ant-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin or ibuprofen may help with the pain, and heating pads can help ease the pain of cramping. Your doctor may also recommend hormone therapy – either with a contraceptive pill or IUD – to keep your periods lighter, making it difficult for large amounts of tissue to grow outside your uterus every cycle.
As mentioned above, endometriosis can make it more difficult for those affected to get pregnant. While it is still possible to conceive and carry a child to term, it will really depend on your body, the progression of the condition and how long you wait to conceive. Sometimes the adhesions and buildup of tissue around your fallopian tubes may present some barriers to the sperm, making it difficult to fertilize an egg. However, although it may be more challenging, it is not impossible. Most doctors recommend that women with endometriosis do not delay motherhood, as the condition will only continue to get worse with age.
If you suspect the pain you’re experiencing with your period may indicate endometriosis, don’t wait; seek medical attention right away. Contact the Lady’s Care Center in Miramar, Florida, to schedule your appointment by calling (954) 538-1700. We look forward to serving you.