Expert Health Articles

Endometriosis Awareness

March is endometriosis awareness month. Unfortunately, many symptoms of endometriosis are often overlooked. 

 

Patients will often see several healthcare providers before endometriosis is diagnosed. Classic symptoms involve cyclic pelvic pain that begins before periods and improves after the start of the menstrual cycle. The pain may be dull, throbbing or burning in sensation. Many do not realize that bowel and bladder changes, fatigue, abnormal bleeding, low back pain, pressure, nausea and vomiting may also be related and can exist at times other than the menstrual cycle.

 

Endometriosis is the presence of the inner uterine lining (glands and stroma) outside of the uterus and other parts of the body. The symptoms are often dependent on where the lesions exist. In women diagnosed with endometriosis, over 80% will present with pain, 20 to 25% may have infertility and a smaller number will have an endometrioma, a type of cyst, on the ovary related to endometriosis.

 

If a teen or young woman experiences severe menstrual pain requiring time off of work or school, or use of a heating pad or pain medication for severe cramping, she needs to be seen by a physician experienced with endometriosis. Over 10% of women during their reproductive years will be affected by endometriosis. The Endometriosis Association states that over 176 million women worldwide are diagnosed with endometriosis.

 

Endometriosis can be a huge personal and social burden. It is one of the main causes of infertility, and it is a condition requiring regular physician care. Once diagnosed, there may be dietary recommendations, general medical treatment, possible surgical interventions and even medical alternative treatments to help with and cope with the symptoms. 

 

March is an important month for community awareness. I encourage further education at endometriosis.org. There are also numerous workshops globally on this important topic during the month of March.

 

Dr. Lorie Thomas-Schultz

Obstetrics & Gynecology

Blanchard Valley Obstetrics & Gynecology