Do You Have Endometriosis?
It’s easy to confuse endometriosis with fibroids, so we’ve gathered the following information from top-tier medical sources and studies to help educate you on the differences between endometriosis and uterine fibroids. This post will not only help explain the differences between the two, but it will also discuss and provide insight into potential symptoms. It’s said that more than 5.5 million1 North American women show signs of endometriosis; here’s what you should consider if you think you may be one of them.
What is Endometriosis and Who is at Risk?
Endometriosis happens when tissue that is normally found inside the uterus grows in other parts of the body, attaching to ovaries, fallopian tubes, the exterior of the uterus or the bowel.2 When you experience your menstrual cycle, this tissue breaks down, causing pain and scar tissue.
Some women are more prone to endometriosis than others. Here are a few indicators3 of higher risk: you are in your 30s and 40s and have not yet had children; you have periods longer than seven days; your cycles are shorter than 28 days; you started your period before age 12 and you have a mother or sisters with endometriosis.
Menstrual and Pregnancy Complications
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pain just before, during or after menstruation. The pain can range from high levels of discomfort to disabling. They can also occur before or during sex, as well as during bowel movements or urination, while also causing ongoing pain in the pelvis and lower back. Another common, and many times the only, symptom of endometriosis is trouble getting pregnant.4
Endometriosis vs. Fibroids
If the symptoms above sound a lot like fibroids, you’re right. Endometriosis, much like fibroids, causes severe menstrual pain. But, the latter is a noncancerous growth of uterus’s muscle tissue. Fibroids can cause severe cramps and heavier bleeding during your period just like endometriosis can, and the pain of endometriosis or fibroids can also flare up at other times of the month.5 That’s why seeing a medical professional for diagnosis is important.
Diagnosis and Treatment
Typically, your doctor will do a pelvic exam to check your ovaries, uterus, and cervix for anything unusual, calling then for an ultrasound, CT scan or MRI in some cases.
If you are experiencing the pain described above, regular exercise6 may help to relieve pain by improving blood flow and boosting endorphins, which are the body’s natural pain relievers and natural uppers. Massage and meditation may also ease your symptoms. Remember though: your doctor knows best! Always consult a physician if you are experiencing any issues or irregularities or if you suspect a problem. You should always feel comfortable speaking to your doctor about reproductive health.
- S. Department of Health and Human Services Staff, Endometriosis Booklet. National Institutes of Health. http://endometriosis.nichd.nih.gov/pdf/endo_booklet.pdf
- William Blahd, MD, Slideshow: A Visual Guide to Endometriosis. http://www.webmd.com/women/endometriosis/ss/slideshow-endometriosis-overview
- Oakwood Women’s Centre Staff, Patient Resources. Oakwood Women’s Centre. http://www.oakwoodwomens.com/gynecology/endometriosis/
- National Women’s Health Resource Center Staff, Pregnancy & Parenting. National Women’s Health Resource Center. http://www.healthywomen.org/content/article/endometriosis-and-pregnancy
- Stacey Lloyd, Pelvic Pain: Uterine Fibroids vs. Endometriosis. http://www.empowher.com/uterine-fibroids/content/pelvic-pain-uterine-fibroids-vs-endometriosis
- Center for Women’s Health Staff, Endometriosis: Nutrition and Exercise. The Center for Young Women’s Health. http://youngwomenshealth.org/2012/06/12/endometriosis-nutrition-and-exercise/
- Posted by holx-admin
- On September 21, 2016