Cramping Your Style: What to Know About Endometriosis

About 1 out of every 10 girls and women lives with endometriosis, a painful condition in which the uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. Endometriosis growths often develop on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, the outer surface of the uterus, and on the tissues that hold the uterus in place.

How Endometriosis Works

Typically, the endometrial lining thickens to prepare for a fertilized egg. If a woman becomes pregnant, this egg attaches to the endometrium and begins to grow. If a woman does not become pregnant, the endometrium breaks down and leaves the body as a menstrual period. The tissue that grows outside of the uterus as a result of endometriosis behaves just like the endometrium—that is, it swells then breaks down and bleeds during menstruation. This causes the pain associated with endometriosis.

Symptoms of Endometriosis

Overwhelmingly, pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis. However, the types of pain women can experience varies. This includes:

  • Painful menstrual cramps that often get worse over time
  • Lower back and pelvic pain
  • Pain during or after sex
  • Intestinal discomfort
  • Painful bowel movements or pain while urinating

Other symptoms include:

  • Extremely heavy or long periods
  • Severe migraines during your period
  • Bleeding between periods
  • Fatigue
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Bloating
  • Allergies that get worse around the time of menstruation

Your Treatment Options

In addition to pain and other symptoms that affect a woman’s daily life, endometriosis can also lead to infertility or difficulty conceiving. While there is no cure for endometriosis, different treatments can help pain and infertility. Some of the treatments your doctor may suggest include medication, surgery to remove endometrial growths and scar tissue, and fertility therapy for infertile patients.

If you have heavy or painful periods, talk to the experts at Baylor St. Luke’s Medical Group. Our board-certified OB/GYNs can offer treatment for both the pain and infertility associated with endometriosis, along with the full spectrum of gynecologic and obstetric care. Find a doctor near you today to take the first step toward a better state of health.

Endometriosis Health Center
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