October 4, 2022
Endometriosis: Symptoms and Treatment
Did you know that endometriosis affects roughly 10 percent of reproductive-age women and girls globally?
The true number is unknown, though, since diagnosis requires a laparoscopy — a procedure that not everyone has access to. It’s more likely to cause infertility or difficulty getting pregnant, and it can lead to painful periods. How can you know when it’s time to seek help, though?
We’re here with more information. Read on to learn more about the symptoms and treatment options for endometriosis.
First, what does endometriosis look like? Here are a few of the most common symptoms:
- Pain (especially excessive menstrual cramps felt in the abdomen and lower back)
- Pain during intercourse
- Abnormal or heavy menstrual flow
- Pain while urinating during menstruation
It’s important to note that symptoms aren’t going to look the same for every person. These experiences also aren’t relative to the severity of the disease. So, while some people with severe cases may experience no pain, others with a milder form may experience severe pain or other symptoms.
No matter what, if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to speak about it with your doctor.
Where Endometriosis Can Occur
The most common site of endometriosis include:
- Fallopian tubes
- The outer surface of the uterus
- The lining of the pelvic cavity
This list isn’t comprehensive, but it’s a great look into where you might experience pain associated with this chronic disease.
The most common method of diagnosis is laparoscopy. They’ll biopsy any suspicious tissue and then make a diagnosis based on their microscopic examinations. This procedure is a minor one that involves inserting a small camera into the abdomen through a small incision.
Your doctor might also opt for other exams like an ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI scan to help with the diagnosis process.
There isn’t a known cure, but there are treatment options for endometriosis. There is a range of factors that go into determining your specific treatment, like age, symptoms, your desire for pregnancy, your preferences, and even your doctor’s expectations for the course of the disease.
Some common methods include:
- Pain medication
- Hormone therapy (like oral contraceptives, progestins, or Danazol)
- At-home care
Depending on the severity of your pain, your doctor might suggest “watchful waiting,” along with pain medications to determine the severity of endometriosis. At-home care can include things like using a heating pad on your stomach, making it easy during your menstrual cycle, taking warm baths, or making sure you get regular exercise.
Remember, what works for others might not work for you, so don’t feel discouraged if one treatment doesn’t work well the first time around.
Care For Your Health Today
If you’re experiencing any abnormal pain, it’s important that you let your gynecologist know. While endometriosis isn’t the only cause of pain in your uterus, it’s still important to rule out as a factor — especially if anyone in your immediate family has it.