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Severe menstrual cramps and other symptoms are the sign of a painful condition called endometriosis.
Endometriosis does not have a cure, but there are hormone treatments and non-invasive surgeries available to help manage symptoms.
We’ve collected a series of resources, so you can better understand endometriosis and manage your pelvic health.
Mild cramps. Bloating. Mood swings. Sounds like a typical monthly menstrual cycle. But for millions of women in the United States, the pain is way more severe. They have a condition called endometriosis – where cells that usually line the inside of the uterus grow on the outside.
Currently, there is no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments to manage symptoms. At Providence, we have solutions to treat endometriosis at every stage. This month, we’re sharing resources to help you manage your pelvic health in a way that’s right for you.
Why debilitating menstrual cramps are not normal
Are your menstrual cramps so severe that they leave you lying in bed with a heating pad wrapped around your pelvic region? Or perhaps they are so bad that they interfere with everyday activities? You may have endometriosis, a leading cause of female pelvic pain. However, there’s more to endometriosis than just “killer cramps.”
Four signs you may have endometriosis
Women often ignore or don’t recognize the signs of endometriosis. They simply “live with it,” not realizing that treatment is available. If you experience one or more of these symptoms, talk to your OB/GYN about treatment or next steps:
1. Very painful menstrual cramps
Debilitating cramps during your period that worsen over time and continue regardless of lifestyle changes or medicine are the most common sign of endometriosis.
2. Other problems during your period, such as fatigue, nausea or diarrhea
Some women with endometriosis experience excessive bleeding during their periods or between periods. Endometriosis can also cause fatigue, nausea and other physical complications.
3. Difficulty getting pregnant
Approximately 1 in 4 women with endometriosis has difficulty getting pregnant.
4. Pain or discomfort during sexual intercourse
Endometriosis causes pain that can feel like it’s deep in your body and may change with your menstrual cycle.
An endometriosis diagnosis: Hormone treatments may help
Hormone treatments can be a helpful option for women with endometriosis. Certain hormones stop or suppress the ovaries from making other hormones and even prevent ovulation. Dr. Brooke Winner, a gynecologic surgeon at Swedish Medical Center, explains how hormones can treat endometriosis symptoms and help manage pain.
Gynecological surgery FAQs: Laparoscopy
More minimally invasive surgeries, such as laparoscopy, are available now than ever before – including for endometriosis. With laparoscopic surgery, the surgeon uses special tools to look at magnified images on a video screen. This means smaller and fewer incision sites, less pain and faster recovery. Hear more from a Providence surgical OB/GYN about what to keep in mind when choosing a surgeon and researching this type of procedure.
Endometriosis and pelvic health: You are not alone
Endometriosis is a painful condition. At Providence, we know that there are many options when it comes to finding relief. It can be overwhelming. Our specialists are ready to answer your questions. If you think you have endometriosis, we’re here for you – from diagnosis to treatment.
Find a doctor
If you want to learn more about endometriosis or need treatment, you can find a Providence OB/GYN or a primary care provider using our provider directory.
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This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your healthcare professional's instructions.
About the AuthorMore Content by Providence Women's Health Team