Painful periods are often written off simply as something “that happens to a lot of women.”
Unfortunately, many women have simply been prescribed the pill as treatment, without further exploration into the true root cause of symptoms.
But did you know there could be something else at play here?
Endometriosis affects an estimated 10% of all women and on average, it takes 7.5 years to be diagnosed. That is simply unacceptable.
Common symptoms are:
– Painful periods
The pain can be excruciating for women with endometriosis. Often to the point that women miss work, school, or other activities. Extremely painful periods often mean a women needs NSAIDS (Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) in order to deal with the pain. Over the counter NSAIDS such as tylenol or paracetamol are unfortunately associated with negatively affecting ovulation.
– Painful sex
It should go without saying that painful sex is always a sign from your body that something is off. Endometriosis is one cause of pain during sex, other causes (such as bladder infections, STIs, etc) need the attention of your doctor.
– Difficult urination
Having a hard time relieving your bladder is an absolute warning sign from your body. Please make an appointment with GP immediately if you have any problems in this area.
– Painful digestion
If endometrial lesions are in the pelvic cavity, they can affect digestion and elimination.
Unfortunately, endometriosis is a common cause of infertility. Often, women are diagnosed due to testing to clarify “unexplained” infertility.
– Low back pain before and during periods
Women can experience lower back pain on-and-off but with endometriosis, lower back pain tends to be consistent every month.
– Painful bowel movements
Emodometriosis causes lesions with cause inflammation and can even bleed during the cycle. If the lesions are on the small or large intestines, elimination can be affected.
Irritable Bowel Syndrome. A classic symptom of irritable bowel syndrome is constipation and/or diarrhea at alternating intervals. Quite often SIBO (small intestinal bacterial overgrowth) is the root cause of IBS.
– Unexplained Fatigue
Many women experience fatigue these days, but if you aren’t overly stressed (although who isn’t this year?), it would be a good idea to look into the reasons behind your fatigue.
You do not need to have all of these symptoms in order to have endometriosis! These are all indications that you might have it.
Up to now, laparoscopic surgery has been the only definitive way of diagnosing endometriosis. Otherwise, doctors have used symptoms (and a bit of intuition) as a prediagnostic tool. As laparoscopic surgery involves searching for lesions by using a camera in the pelvis.
There are newer, more revolutionary methods to diagnose endometriosis on the horizon.
1. Blood testing.
A company called MDNA out of the UK has designed a blood test that can detect 90% of endometriosis in women. These tests should be rolling out internationally within the next few years.
2. Computer program
In Australia, they are working on an algorithm that can diagnose endometriosis on the basis of non-invasive scans and blood work.
These two diagnostic tools will be revolutionary in the field of women’s health. They may not be available in your area yet – but hopefully soon will be.
Nonetheless, it is important to speak with your doctor to get diagnosed and NOT wait 7.5 years until someone takes your symptoms of endometriosis seriously.