Symptoms of Endometriosis Include:
- Chronic pelvic pain
- Debilitating period pain in those who menstruate
- Intermittent pelvic or abdominal pain at any time during cycle
- Infertility, miscarriage or ectopic (tubal) pregnancy
- Pain associated with sexual intercourse, if active
- Allergies with tendency to worsen around time of period
- Family history of endometriosis
- Gastrointestinal upset and discomfort during cycle, sometimes misdiagnosed as “irritable bowel syndrome”
- Bladder pain or discomfort, particularly during period; may be misdiagnosed as a urinary tract infection or interstitial cystitis
Know the Facts:
- Endometriosis is nothing to be embarassed about!
- Endometriosis can affect a wide age span, including those as young as 10 and as old as 85.
- Hysterectomy, menopause and pregnancy are NOT cures for endometriosis. In fact, there is no definitive cure.
- No one knows for sure what causes endometriosis, but research indicates that we may be born with the disease.
- Endometriosis can only be diagnosed via surgery (laparoscopy); diagnostic tests like MRIs and ultrasounds are not definitive.
- Treatments such as GnRH analogs should NEVER be administered in patients younger than 18 or before a surgical diagnosis.
So – What IS Normal??
Minor cramping during menses, often treated with over the counter remedies. Each month, tissue lining the uterus (endometrium) breaks down, sheds and exits the body resulting in normal menstruation. Inflammatory hormones – particularly those known as prostaglandins – are linked to the minor cramping and discomfort of a normal period. This is called “dysmenorrhea”. Dysmenorrhea is not the same as endometriosis, nor is the disease simply comprised of ‘normal’ endometrium in abnormal places – as many sources and organizations mistakenly assert.