March is a month set aside for National Endometriosis Awareness. If you have never heard of this perhaps you should feel blessed. I personally wish I could say the same thing as while I do not have it I watch 2 of my 3 daughters suffer through the pain of Endometriosis. In the beginning it would simply put a halt to the life for one week out of the month. Since that time we have discovered tricks to help them cope with the terrible pain but the pain is still very present as I am sure they would tell you.
Endometriosis is a female health disorder that occurs when cells from the lining of the womb (uterus) grow in other areas of the body. This can lead to pain, irregular bleeding, and problems getting pregnant. The cause is unknown, however it does run in families. Other factors contributing to endometriosis include:
- started your period at a young age
- Never had children
- Have frequent periods or they last 7 or more days
- Closed hymen, which blocks the flow of menstrual blood during the period
- Painful periods
- Pain in the lower abdomen before and during menstruation
- Cramps for a week or two before menstruation and during menstruation; cramps may be steady and range from dull to severe)
- Pain during or following sexual intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements
- Pelvic or low back pain that may occur at any time during the menstrual cycle
Below are some questions to ask yourself to see if you may have endometriosis:
_____ _____ Do you experience so much pain during or around your period that you find yourself unable to work, attend school or social functions, or go about your normal routine?
_____ _____ Do you have any relatives that have been diagnosed with Endometriosis?
_____ _____ Do you find yourself with painful abdominal bloating, swelling or tenderness at any time in your cycle?
_____ _____ Do you have a history of painful ovarian endometriomas (“chocolate cysts”)?
_____ _____ Do you have a history of miscarriage, infertility or ectopic pregnancy?
_____ _____ Do you experience gastrointestinal symptoms during your cycle, such as nausea or vomiting and/or painful abdominal cramping accompanied by diarrhea and/or constipation?
_____ _____ Do you have a history of fatigue and/or a lowered immunity (i.e., “sick and tired” all the time)?
_____ _____ Do you have a history of allergies, which tend to worsen around your periods?
_____ _____ If you are sexually active, do you experience pain during sexual activity?
_____ _____ Do you suffer from any other autoimmune diseases (i.e., thyroid disease, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, fibromyalgia, or multiple sclerosis)?
_____ _____ Have you ever undergone pelvic surgery like a laparoscopy, in which Endometriosis was suspected but not definitively diagnosed?
Aimed with the knowledge of these questions and symptoms if you are suffering or think you are you should visit your doctor who can help you further.