Endometriosis is a problem that affects girls and women. Endometriosis (pronounced:
en-doh-mee-tree-OH-sis) happens when tissue that looks and acts like the lining of
the uterus grows outside
the uterus. The lining of the uterus is called the endometrium.
Doctors don't know the exact cause of endometriosis.
What Are the Signs & Symptoms of Endometriosis?
Very painful menstrual cramps
is the most common symptom of endometriosis. The growths outside the uterus swell
and bleed with the menstrual cycle,
just as the endometrium does. When the blood has nowhere to go, it can get trapped.
This irritates the surrounding areas, causing pain. Over time, scars can form.
Other symptoms of endometriosis include:
large clots bigger than the size of a dime
pelvic or back pain
pain when peeing
bowel problems like diarrhea,
constipation, and pain or blood when going to the bathroom
pain with sex
not being able to get pregnant
How Is Endometriosis Diagnosed and Treated?
Lots of girls get period pain and the other symptoms that aren't due to endometriosis.
So diagnosing the condition can be hard. Doctors will ask about a girl's symptoms
and do an exam. They also might order an ultrasound. Depending on those results, they
might order a magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan.
If the doctor suspects endometriosis, the first step is to treat it with pain relievers,
like ibuprofen, and hormone therapy
like birth control. Hormone
therapy decreases bleeding, and as a result, eases pain.
If symptoms are severe or don't improve over 3–6 months of medical treatment,
the doctor may recommend laparoscopic surgery, also called laparoscopy (pronounced:
Laparoscopy is a type of minimally invasive surgery. A surgeon inserts a thin tube
with a camera through a tiny cut in the skin. The surgeon looks for and might biopsy
(take a small sample of to study) the growths. It's also a way to treat endometriosis
because the surgeon can remove growths in the abdomen and pelvis. Sometimes, the surgeon
will place an intrauterine
device (IUD) to deliver hormones. After surgery, most women have less pain.
Surgery is not a cure. But when combined with hormone therapy, like birth
control pills, the birth
control shot, or an IUD, it can help control pain and prevent endometriosis from
What Else Can I Do?
To help relieve period pain, whether it's from endometriosis or not, you can try:
Heat. Put a heating pad or heat patch on your lower belly or
take or a warm bath.
during your period may help ease menstrual cramps.
Massage. Massaging your belly and lower back may decrease pain.
Getting more sleep. Extra sleep
in the week you're expecting your period helps with period mood changes.
Eating a balanced diet. More fruits,
vegetables, and lean protein help ease period bloating and pain.
Drinking water. Drinking enough water can help lessen period
Meditation and mindful movement, like yoga
or tai chi, can help you relax.