One out of every 10 women have endometriosis. Each woman’s experience is unique, but they also share similar stories because endometriosis is known for causing excruciating pain and often long or heavy menstrual periods.
If you don’t live with endometriosis, you may envision the pain it causes to be like the pain of menstrual cramps. Sure, monthly cramps hurt a lot, but they only last a few days, and over-the-counter medications take the edge off. Except that isn’t the way it is with endometriosis.
At Gynecologic Surgery & Menopause Solutions, we understand all the painful aspects of endometriosis and the deep impact it has on your life, and we’re here to help.
Living 10 years in the dark
From the time their symptoms begin to when they finally get an accurate diagnosis, it takes women an average of 10 years to learn they have endometriosis. This long delay is often due to a lack of information about endometriosis, a challenge that affects women and health care professionals.
Women believe they “just” have bad cramps and that’s the way it is, so they put off seeing a doctor. More time is lost as they’re misdiagnosed and meet with multiple doctors before finally getting the right answer
Sometimes endometriosis isn’t even identified as a gynecological problem. Endometriosis can cause gastrointestinal symptoms that worsen around the time of your period. If a connection isn’t made between painful periods and symptoms like diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and nausea, you may be diagnosed with a condition like inflammatory bowel disease.
Losing part of your life due to pain
Endometriosis begins when tissues that normally line your uterus find a way out of the uterus. Then they attach to the surrounding tissues — the outside of your uterus, Fallopian tubes, ovaries, and abdominal wall — and begin to grow.
Every month, these endometrial patches prepare to support a fertilized egg and then, just like your menstrual period, they bleed. Except the blood doesn’t drain out, it stays in your pelvic area.
As the bleeding causes inflammation and scarring, called adhesions, you start to feel the hallmark symptom of endometriosis: pain. The type of pain varies slightly for each woman because it depends on where the patches of endometriosis are located, but you may experience:
- Widespread pelvic pain
- Pain during intercourse
- Pain during your periods
- Pain before your period
- Pain when you urinate
- Pain when you have a bowel movement
Think about what it means to have terrible pain for a week before your period, then to have it continue during your period. That’s potentially two weeks of constant, agonizing pain. It can be a struggle to get out of bed; forget about enjoying a game of tennis, meeting friends for dinner, or even going to get groceries.
On a more personal level, endometriosis comes between relationships. It’s hard if you’re married and having sex is painful. It’s even more challenging if you’re dating and need to explain how to take it slow because you want to have sex, but it hurts. It’s not easy to lay the groundwork for a solid relationship when the most private aspects of your life are dominated by endometrial pain.
Improving your life with treatment
Your life can improve when you see a doctor who is an expert in diagnosing endometriosis and who stays up-to-date with the latest advances in treatment. That’s what we do. Our office is equipped with the latest diagnostic tools, and we have years of experience helping women with endometriosis.
We also believe there’s one thing that’s more important than experience and technology, and that’s listening to you. It’s vital for us to learn about your experience, the details and timing of your symptoms, and your personal concerns. Then we can start to put the pieces together and create customized care.
There aren’t any easy solutions for endometriosis, but once you have a diagnosis, a new journey begins that can make living with endometriosis easier.
We can recommend several medical options that help to relieve the pain of endometriosis. Several hormonal therapies are available that may reduce or eliminate your pain by stopping your monthly periods or leading to lighter bleeding. With these therapies, you can still plan to get pregnant after the medication is stopped.
We have extensive experience performing laparoscopic surgery to remove endometrial lesions, while preserving the health of your uterus and ovaries. If you’re sure you don’t want to have babies, we can talk with you about hysterectomy as an option for eliminating endometriosis.
To get the support you need for living with endometriosis, call Gynecologic Surgery & Menopause Solutions, or schedule an appointment online.