What is endometriosis and how does it affect my menstrual cycle?

According to the National Women’s Health Network, “Endometriosis is a condition that causes the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus, resulting in period pain and a shorter amount of time in between cycles.”

Endometriosis causes the lining of your uterus that is normally discharged during your period to attach to other parts of your body, like your ovaries and fallopian tubes. This condition can create excessive menstrual bleeding, significant pain and possibly interfere with your fertility.

The exact cause of endometriosis is not known although its presence has been associated in women who started their periods at an early age, relatives who have been diagnosed with endometriosis, and women who have not given birth.

Initial treatment for endometriosis usually involves medication such as an over-the-counter pain reliever like ibuprofin or naproxen sodium to help reduce painful menstrual cramps. Hormone therapy can also be effective in reducing or eliminating the pain of endometriosis by slowing endometrial tissue growth during your normal menstrual cycle, although your symptoms may return after stopping treatment.

Surgery is also an option and can take a conservative approach to remove just the the endometriosis implants while preserving your uterus and ovaries. In severe cases the ovaries and/or the uterus may be removed.

If you suspect that you are experiencing endometriosis, then the first step is to seek medical attention. You physician can confirm the diagnosis by a variety of methods, including pelvic exam, ultrasound, MRI and laparoscopy. Once properly diagnosed, your physician can help you make a treatment decision that is right for you.

Best wishes for your health and wellness,

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