National Endometriosis Month
March is National Endometriosis Month. Endometriosis can be a difficult subject to broach for everyone, but especially for women because of the nature of this condition. Endometriosis affects an estimated 2 to 10 percent of childbearing-aged women in America; however, this estimation is hard to confirm because of how hard the signs are to recognize in women. This week, we’d like to take a moment to discuss what endometriosis is, who it affects and how this condition can be so devastating yet underdiagnosed.
What Is Endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissues similar to the lining of a woman’s uterus grow outside of the uterine cavity and over other organs in the pelvic region. In most cases that’s the extent of the tissue’s spread. In severe cases it can move into other parts of the body, such as the intestines. These tissues will break down and build up in response to the hormones a woman’s body naturally produces during her menstrual cycle. However, this cycle can damage the surrounding normal tissue and cause scarring and pain.
Symptoms Of Endometriosis
Endometriosis symptoms can include:
- Severe pain during menstrual cramps, intercourse and bowel movements
- Troubles getting pregnant
- Digestive and gastrointestinal issues
- Abnormally heavy or painful menstrual flow
Who Is At Risk
Unfortunately, endometriosis can impact any female with a menstrual cycle. However, you’re more likely to experience symptoms if:
- A close family member has been diagnosed with endometriosis (sister, mom, aunt)
- You have not had children or been pregnant
- You have abnormal menstrual cycles (shorter, longer, heavier, etc)
What You Can Do
While endometriosis is a chronic condition, it can be managed after you and your medical provider review things like your medical history and current symptoms. Treatment options can include:
- Pain medications
- Hormone therapies
- Surgery ranging from minor to extensive
Endometriosis is an underdiagnosed condition in women that can lead to serious complications, such as growths, cysts, inflammation, scar tissue, infertility and intestinal issues. Please be mindful of what’s normal for you and your body. If you are concerned you may be exhibiting symptoms of endometriosis, contact us at CCMH to set up an appointment with our Women’s Health unit by calling (580) 353-6790.
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John Hopkins Medicine. https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis
U.S. Department of Health & Human Services. https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis