How Can I Know If I Have Endometriosis?
Updated: Sep 12, 2022
Most women during their period experience the usual painful cramps which in most cases is normal and something that can quickly go away with some paracetamol. Then in some not-so-rare cases, there’s the extremely painful and sometimes even unbearable period pain which could be because of endometriosis. About 10-15% of all women of fertile age have endometriosis. It is characterized by severe period pain as the typical symptom. This pain often gets in the way of daily life and forces you to take some days off work and/or school to recover.
For the majority of women, the term Endometriosis is an unfamiliar word. So before you diagnose yourself let us first understand what Endometriosis is.
What is it or what causes it?
Endometriosis or Endo is commonly referred to as a disorder in which tissue similar to the lining of your uterus (endometrium) grows outside of your uterine cavity. It could grow on your ovaries, bowel, and tissue lining of your pelvis. You must be wondering, then what does it have to do with my painful period? Well, hormonal changes during your menstrual cycle affect the misplaced tissue, causing the area to become inflamed and painful. This means that the tissue will grow, thicken, and break down. Then once it has broken down and has nowhere to go it becomes trapped in your pelvis. All this leads to the severe pain you experience.
What are the symptoms?
Pelvic pain is the most common symptom but aside from that you could also experience:
Cramps 1/2 weeks before the period
Lower back pain any time during your cycle
Heavy flow or bleeding between periods
Nausea and dizziness
Make sure you do not skip your usual doctor visits especially if you exhibit one or two of these symptoms. This will help diagnose and treat at early stages of the condition.
How is it diagnosed?
If you experience severe pelvic pain that lasts even after your period has ended you’ll need to see your gynaecologist.
Some of the tests that you could undergo include:
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
What treatment options do I have?
Given the fact that the condition can pose a hindrance to your daily activities, you are most likely looking for quick and fast relief from the pain. While using warm pillows or hot water bottles offers great pain relief, endometriosis has no cure BUT not to worry the symptoms can be managed!
The treatment options include:
Pain medication - over-the-counter pain medication like ibuprofen, but it might not work for everyone.
Hormone therapy - helps your body regulate the monthly hormonal changes that promote the tissue growth that occurs with endometriosis
Hormonal contraceptives - birth control pills, patches, and vaginal rings can reduce or even eliminate the pain in less severe endometriosis.
Conservative surgery - is used for people who want to get pregnant or who experience severe pain and hormonal treatments are not working. It removes or destroys endometrial growth without damaging the reproductive organs.
Does it affect my fertility?
Probably one of the main questions you have while reading this blog post, right? Chances are it may be more difficult to conceive with this condition. About 30-50 % of all women having endometriosis find it difficult to conceive naturally.
During surgery, your doctor may evaluate the amount, location, and depth of endometriosis and give you a “score.” This score determines whether your endometriosis is considered minimal (Stage 1), mild (Stage 2), moderate (Stage 3), or severe (Stage 4). It helps determine pregnancy success. Women with severe (Stage 4) endometriosis, which causes considerable scarring, blocked fallopian tubes, and damaged ovaries, experience the most difficulty becoming pregnant and often require advanced fertility treatment.
Lots of women suffer from severe period pain. Some of them may have endometriosis. The most significant symptoms of endometriosis are severe period pain, ovulation pain, pain during intercourse and defecation pain. If you experience two or more of these symptoms consult with your doctor and get a diagnosis to begin treatment. While it may affect fertility, most women will eventually conceive although it could be a longer and harder process.
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