Updated: Aug 19, 2021
If you are having abnormally intense or debilitating pain around your menstrual cycle, you could be one of the 10% of women reported as suffering with endometriosis. It is an issue that can affect women of any background, size or level of health. And while it can be discovered at any age, it is most commonly found in women aged 25-35.
This can be a scary, excruciating disorder, and it will not go away on its own. However, by working with qualified professionals you can understand what you are going through and what your options may be.
How you can identify Endometriosis
What’s actually happening is this: the tissue that is usually found in your uterus, called endometrium, is growing outside of your uterus. This can lead to internal bleeding, scarring and the development of cysts. It also brings very painful symptoms with it. So, if you are experiencing any of the following, it may be time to seek some medical advice:
● Extremely painful or heavy periods, or those that last a very long time
● Bleeding outside of your normal period
● Problems getting pregnant
● Digestive issues, especially related to your bowels
● Painful bowel movements or urination during your period
● Feeling completely exhausted or overtired, both during and outside of your period
● Pain during or after sex, especially intercourse
● Feeling nauseous or actually throwing up around the time of your period
Another set of symptoms you may experience are those related to the hormone shifts and imbalances that are associated with this condition. These include weight gain and fluctuations, acne or “breaking out” on your body or your face, particularly by the mouth and jawline. It can also be less tangible, like the feeling that your mood is completely out of your control. This could manifest as feelings of sadness, hopelessness or intense irritability.
Overall, the very severe pain in the lower belly will be your number one sign but, as you can see, it is a complicated disorder with a myriad of symptoms.
How your doctor can identify Endometriosis
Once you have decided that you are having some or all of these symptoms, you should be heading to a doctor’s office. The first thing they will do is perform a pelvic exam. This is like your average trip to ob/gyn where they will examine your uterus and ovaries. They may then decide to refer you to an ultrasound technician for an internal or external exam. They may alternately suggest getting an MRI or a CT scan. After that it may be recommended that you undergo a procedure known as a laparoscopy. This is a very minimal kind of surgery that allows doctors a better look at your uterus.
While it may sound like an involved process to find your diagnosis, it is not without reason and there is nothing to fear. Endometriosis is a serious condition and, if you are suffering from it, you deserve information, assurance and care. You do not have to suffer in silence, you only have to listen to your body and decide when it may be time for some professional help.