Educate yourself! Endometriosis is a chronic disease of the reproductive organs. Your first sign of a problem may be chronic pelvic pain that is worse during your period. Endometrium is the tissue that lines your uterus, but for some women endometrium forms outside of the uterus. It can attach to your ovaries, the outside of your uterus, the bowels, bladder, and other pelvic organs and structures. You may experience disruptions in bowel movements and possibly even bladder problems. During your period the endometrium in your uterus sheds because a fertilized egg did not implant. The endometrium in your pelvic cavity will also shed, but it has no place to go. This is when inflammation and pain occurs from the build up of endometrium tissue and blood. It is not known why the endometrium forms outside of the uterus. Some common theories may be that the endometrium flows back through the fallopian tubes and attaches to pelvic structures. Another theory is that for some reason the cells in the pelvis are producing endometrium. Due to the fact that the cause is not fully understood, it can be very difficult to diagnose and even more difficult to treat.
Endo affects more than 5 million women in the United States and in Canada. Endo can become very debilitating for those suffering from severe symptoms.
Keep track of how often your pain occurs and where the pain in located. Keeping an accurate record of your pain will allow you to fully communicate your symptoms to your physician. I know that when I go to the doctor I have so much information to share with him that I tend to leave things out. Keep a journal with your at all times and make notes throughout the day as your symptoms change. Even make notes of your good days. You will start to see a pattern to your pain and more than likely you will find that your pain is much more intense during your period. This is because the endo in your pelvic cavity is also trying to shed, but has no place to go. The build up of tissue can cause lesions and scarring.
Endo can also make it very difficult for some women to conceive. The endo can implant on the outside of one or both ovaries preventing the egg from traveling through the fallopian tube. Endo can also implant in the fallopian tube blocking the flow of the unfertilized egg and also blocking the flow to sperm to the egg.
Talk to your gynecologist about your symptoms and do not give up until they fully understand what you are going through! Endo can be difficult to diagnose because a physician more than likely will not diagnose a patient with endo without surgery. Since endo is comprised of normal body tissues, it cannot be seen on a pelvic ultrasound. Laparoscopy is the most common form of surgery. Laparoscopy is a minimally invasive surgery that allows a physician to explore the pelvis through tiny incisions. A camera with a light on it is inserted into the pelvis through these tiny incisions and the physician can then burn away and remove any endo.
Some gynecologists may be reluctant to perform surgery, but do not give up. Your gyno may suggest different forms of hormone therapy to suppress the growth of endo. These hormone therapies are great options, but do not work for everyone and can cause some nasty symptoms.
Do your research and find other therapies. I have tried several herbal remedies and for me they did not work, but I have heard miracle stories from other women suffering from endo. Also check into diet changes and specific exercises that could help. Don’t give up and be proactive! Help yourself!!!
I have suffered from endo for almost a decade, but I was only diagnosed two years ago. Even as a teenager I knew my pelvic pain was not normal, but it was dismissed as being severe menstrual cramps. I later found out that my mother and maternal grandmother both suffered from endo until they were eventually forced to have a hysterectomy. Endo can cause severe pain during a woman’s period, but it can also be painful during other times of the month. I have had surgery twice and once again I am in pain due to the regrowth of the endo.
I know there are thousands of women out there suffering from pelvic pain and they just aren’t getting the answers and information they need. Do not stop pressing for answers from your physician and never stop educating yourself. New information and research is being released monthly on how to diagnose, treat, and cure endo. Good luck and I know your will find relief!