Are you suffering from chronic pelvic pain? Do you dread severe menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding when your period comes? Have you been struggling to get pregnant?
If you answered yes, it’s time to learn more about endometriosis — one of the most common gynecological conditions among women ages 15 to 44. Endometriosis is a leading cause of pelvic pain and heavy periods, but many women don’t know their symptoms are actually warning signs.
Katie Ostrom, MD, and our team are here to help. We provide comprehensive gynecological care, and in this post, we’re taking a closer look at the telltale signs of endometriosis and what to do about this common condition.
Endometrium, the tissue lining your uterus, naturally thickens and sheds over the course of your monthly menstrual cycle. Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when this tissue starts growing outside your uterus.
The tissue grows in patches elsewhere in your pelvic area, but it still behaves like healthy endometrium. When it thickens and sheds, it gets trapped inside your body, and you experience inflammation and pain.
The most common symptoms are:
Pain is your body’s way of telling you something is wrong, and pelvic pain is one of the most common — and most overlooked — symptoms of endometriosis.
Endometriosis pain is often worse during your menstrual period, and it can cause severe cramps or pain that radiates to your lower back and abdomen. You might also experience pain during or after sex, pain with bowel movements, and pain with urination throughout the month.
Along with severe menstrual cramps, many women with endometriosis have abnormally heavy periods.
Menstrual flows that require you to change tampons or pads every hour and periods that consistently last longer than a week are signs that your period is too heavy. Endometriosis can also cause irregular bleeding between your periods.
Endometriosis patches grow outside your uterus. Those patches can block your other reproductive organs and interfere with fertility.
If you’ve been trying to get pregnant for about a year without success (or about six months if you’re over 35), you may have fertility issues — and endometriosis could be the cause.
Endometriosis is linked to menstrual symptoms and infertility. But it can also cause a range of other abdominal symptoms that may not be so easy to pinpoint at first.
In fact, endometriosis could be behind gastrointestinal symptoms like indigestion, bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and nausea. These symptoms may be present all month long, or they may worsen during your menstrual period.
Endometriosis symptoms are painful, and the condition itself is a leading cause of female infertility. Fortunately, endometriosis is treatable — so there’s no reason to continue suffering the symptoms in silence.
Dr. Ostrom and our team offer a range of endometriosis treatments, from hormonal birth control to minimally invasive surgery. We take the time to understand your symptoms and your unique needs, then recommend a treatment plan to help you find relief.
If you think you might have endometriosis, don’t ignore the signs. Book an appointment with Dr. Ostrom online or call our Homer, Alaska, office at 907-435-0555 today.