Endometriosis is one common cause of pelvic pain. Painful periods are one of the first signs of endometriosis. The doctors at North County Women’s Specialists encourage women to get an examination if they have ongoing menstrual or pelvic pain so that they can receive early treatment and help prevent complications of endometriosis such as infertility. If you have questions about your symptoms, call the office in Escondido, California, or book an appointment online.
The endometrium is the tissue that lines the inside of your uterus. This layer of tissue responds to hormonal changes during your monthly cycles. It thickens to prepare for a fertilized egg, then sheds as your menstrual period if you’re not pregnant.
Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when tissues similar to the endometrium begin to grow outside the uterus.
Patches of endometriosis most often develop on your fallopian tubes, ovaries, and the outer surface of your uterus. However, they can also grow on your bladder, bowel, intestines, and the lining of your abdomen.
Endometriosis responds to hormones, just like the uterine lining. As patches of endometriosis break down at the end of each monthly cycle, they bleed into the pelvic area, causing inflammation and scarring
You may not develop symptoms, but when you do, you’ll experience one or more of the following:
You may have heavy periods or bleeding between periods. Some women also develop gastrointestinal problems like nausea, diarrhea, and constipation.
When you have endometriosis, your risk of infertility significantly increases. It’s estimated that 40% of infertile women have endometriosis. In many cases, women discover they have endometriosis when they can’t get pregnant.
The team at North County Women’s Specialists recommends individualized treatment based on your symptoms, the extent of your endometriosis, and your future plans for pregnancy.
Several hormone-based medications are available. Hormonal contraceptives cause lighter, shorter menstrual periods that may slow the growth of endometriosis and reduce your pain.
Other types of hormones prevent estrogen production, which stops your periods and helps shrink patches of endometriosis.
The only way to remove the existing patches of endometriosis is with minimally invasive surgery. Your doctor may recommend a hysterectomy when your pain is severe, and if you’re sure you don’t want to have more children.
When you experience painful periods, and your pelvic pain and cramping begin before your period, or the pain lasts well into your period, call North County Women’s Specialists or book an appointment online.