How Does Endometriosis Affect Periods?

How Does Endometriosis Affect Periods?

No woman enjoys having her period, but for those with endometriosis, this condition can take what is mildly uncomfortable for most to a whole new level of pain and other symptoms. Fortunately, treatments are available.

At Habersham OBGYN in Demorest, Georgia, Dr. Thomas Hatchett, Britteny Barron, our midwife nurse practitioner, and our highly skilled staff provide women with state-of-the-art care through all phases of their lives. Whether you're suffering from a health condition like endometriosis, are pregnant or are simply looking for preventive services, we can help.

Endometriosis

Each month, tissue lines the inside of a woman's uterus in preparation for a potential pregnancy. In those with endometriosis, similar tissue also grows outside the uterus, usually involving the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and inside the pelvis. In rare cases, it can develop in other places as well.

During a woman's cycle, this tissue goes through the same process of thickening then breaking down and bleeding that happens in the uterus; but unlike a typical period, there is no way for the tissue to leave the body, so it becomes trapped and causes issues.

This condition affects anywhere from two to ten percent of women between 25 and 40 years of age. It can be painful and may affect fertility, especially if not properly treated.

Symptoms

Endometriosis can cause a variety of symptoms. Typically, they are cyclical in nature and related to the timing of a woman's period.

Period-related signs

Endometriosis can affect a woman's period in several ways and strike either before it begins or at its onset. Menstrual cramps can be very painful and may be accompanied by discomfort in the abdomen and lower back. Bleeding may be heavy and can occur between periods as well.

Other symptoms

Other symptoms can include gassiness, diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting. There may also be pelvic pain, leg pain, and pain when urinating or having a bowel movement. Fatigue, headaches, and migraines may also occur.

Diagnosis and treatment

Diagnosis involves a medical history and physical exam, including a pelvic exam. Other tests that may be ordered depending on the individual and her situation include an ultrasound, MRI, or laparoscopy.

Treatment typically begins as conservatively as possible, often with pain medication and potentially hormone therapy. If these do not provide sufficient relief, surgery to remove the endometriosis tissue may be an option. All treatment decisions also take into account whether the woman wants to become pregnant.

If you're suffering from particularly painful periods, excessive bleeding, and more, it's important to seek medical help, especially if you want to preserve your fertility. Call our office at 706-229-4718 for an appointment today or book one online.

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