Millions of women in the United States struggle with abnormal periods and pelvic pain for a variety of reasons. One of the more common causes — affecting approximately 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 — is endometriosis.
At Tahoe Women’s Care, Dr. Gary Willen and our team provide comprehensive gynecologic services for women in every stage of their lives, but the reproductive years can be the most problematic. Some of the most common complaints during this stage are irregular menstrual cycles and pelvic pain, and we often find that endometriosis plays a role.
To help you better understand what may be behind your problems, here’s a look at the top four signs that you may be dealing with endometriosis.
Endometriosis at a glance
Before we get into the primary symptoms of endometriosis, let’s take a quick look at the issue. Endometriosis is a condition in which the lining of your uterus grows outside your uterus, often draping over nearby organs and tissues, such as your:
- Fallopian tubes
- Outer uterine walls
- Connective and support tissue outside your uterus
The problem with this misplaced tissue is that it acts as it would inside your uterus, thickening during your menstrual cycles. Except instead of being shed through your vagina, the tissue is trapped, which can lead to painful adhesions, which brings us to the top four signs of endometriosis:
Far and away the most common complaint when it comes to endometriosis is pain, which can come in different forms. In many cases, the pain presents itself as moderate-to-severe cramps during your menstrual cycles. Some women, however, experience ongoing pelvic and lower back pain, as well as pain during sex, bowel movements, and/or urination.
The nature of your pain is important when it comes to your diagnosis, so we urge you to note the levels, frequency, and timing of your pain before you come see us.
2. Spotting between periods
Some women with endometriosis experience spotting or bleeding in between their normal periods. This is also called intermenstrual bleeding.
3. Heavy bleeding
Another sign of endometriosis is heavy bleeding during your period. This bleeding is often accompanied by painful menstrual cramps.
4. Problems with fertility
Research suggests that one in two women who struggle with infertility has endometriosis to blame. While the link between endometriosis and infertility is there, this doesn’t mean that you can’t get pregnant when you have the condition.
When it comes to treating endometriosis, our objective is to meet your goals in terms of pain relief and having children. Our first line of attack when it comes to addressing this condition is through hormonal birth control, which is effective but prevents you from becoming pregnant.
If you’d like to get pregnant, we can try another approach — a gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonist. The treatment leads to temporary menopause, but once you stop taking the medication, our hope is that your body resets itself and begins its menstrual cycles anew.
If you’re struggling with severe discomfort and endometriosis is wreaking havoc on your life, we offer NovaSure®, a technique in which we remove the lining of your uterus entirely. The procedure is quick and easy, but it effectively stops your chances of getting pregnant afterward.
If you suspect you may be dealing with endometriosis, we recommend that you make an appointment at our office in Carson City, Nevada, so we can make a diagnosis and discuss the next steps. To get started, simply click here.