Expert Health Articles

Pain Associated with Endometriosis

Jodi BollenbacherJodi Bollenbacher, PA-C

The Pelvic Pain Center

Endometriosis is a disease process where the lining of the uterus grows outside the uterus. Some estimates suggest that one in 10 women of reproductive age have endometriosis which equates to approximately five million women in the United States.

Pain associated with endometriosis can be debilitating affecting a women’s daily life. Many women suffer in silence. Pain often worsens with menstruation, but may occur outside of bleeding and is often much more severe than “normal” period cramps. Typically, there is no outward appearing signs of endometriosis which can lead to some family, friends or coworkers doubting the severity of the pain. Pain usually starts as a teenager and can progress throughout the years with many women missing school, work or enjoyable activities due to the severity of the pain. The pain can occur unpredictably which can lead to many life challenges. Sometimes, there may be a lack of awareness and research available regarding the disease process which can lead to incorrect diagnoses and treatments.

Sometimes women feel “it is all in their heads” or that pelvic pain is "taboo" and they shouldn't mention it to their providers. There are many options for treatment of symptoms associated with endometriosis and chronic pelvic pain that can help control a woman’s chronic pain. For individuals who are experiencing painful periods, please talk with a health care provider so that they can discuss available options to help alleviate symptoms.