About 1 in 10 women has endometriosis during her reproductive years. Endometriosis develops when the lining of your uterus (endometrium) begins to grow elsewhere in your body.
Endometriosis patches commonly affect other reproductive organs, causing severe menstrual period symptoms, chronic pelvic pain, and even infertility. Symptoms can vary from woman to woman, which means that recognizing the signs isn’t always easy.
The good news? Farly Sejour, MD, Natalie Gould, WHNP-BC, and our team at Solace Women's Care specialize in diagnosing and treating endometriosis. No matter your symptoms, we’re here to answer your questions and help you find a treatment plan that’s right for you.
Here are some of the most common warning signs of endometriosis:
1. Heavy menstrual periods
Every woman’s menstrual cycle is unique. What’s normal for one woman isn’t necessarily normal for the next. These variations can make it hard to know when your symptoms could be a sign of something more serious.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is a very common problem, but it isn’t normal. Heavy bleeding may be a sign of endometriosis or another treatable gynecological condition.
You may have abnormally heavy menstrual bleeding if you experience:
- Bleeding lasting longer than seven days
- Soaking pads or tampons in an hour or less
- Needing to change pads or tampons during the night
- Passing blood clots larger than a quarter
- Nausea or vomiting
If these symptoms sound familiar, don’t wait to schedule a doctor’s appointment. Heavy periods aren’t normal, and treatment can make a significant difference in your quality of life.
2. Severe menstrual cramps
Another possible sign of endometriosis is severe menstrual cramping. More than 80% of women get cramps during their menstrual cycles, but severe symptoms could indicate an underlying condition like endometriosis.
Menstrual cramps are typically considered severe if you regularly experience:
- Cramps that keep you from daily activities
- Cramps with heavy bleeding
- Little or no relief with over-the-counter pain relievers
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experience any of these symptoms or your menstrual cramps start about a week before your period and continue throughout your period, you should visit the doctor. Severe or long-lasting cramps could indicate endometriosis.
3. Chronic pelvic pain
Endometriosis can cause painful, heavy periods — but the pain doesn’t always end when your period does. Because endometriosis patches cause inflammation throughout the pelvic region, pelvic pain may become chronic for women with endometriosis.
You may experience pain in your lower abdomen or lower back at any time of the month. Endometriosis can also cause pain during or after sexual intercourse, as well as pain with urination or bowel movements.
4. Bleeding between periods
If you have endometriosis, you may experience irregular menstrual periods or bleeding between periods. Bleeding may be light, which is also referred to as “spotting.”
However, bleeding could be heavy and look like a menstrual period even when it’s not that time of the month.
Endometriosis is a major cause of female infertility. Many women first learn they have endometriosis when they seek treatment for fertility problems. In fact, up to 50% of women facing infertility are diagnosed with endometriosis.
Even if you don’t have other symptoms of endometriosis, it can cause infertility. Endometriosis patches may grow on ovaries or fallopian tubes, interfering with ovulation, fertilization, and implantation.
Do any of these symptoms sound familiar? It’s time to find out if endometriosis could be to blame. It’s a common condition, and treatment options are available to improve your symptoms.
Schedule a consultation with our team at Solace Women's Care to learn more. Call our Conroe, Texas, office at 936-441-7100 or send us a message online now.