Endometriosis is a fairly common condition where the lining of the uterus grows outside the womb. Symptoms vary, but can include heavy periods and pain in the abdomen. Some women don't even have any symptoms at all, although that's less likely. So how can you cope with the condition if you have endometriosis? Here are some tips to help you manage …
If you suspect that you have endometriosis, see your doctor. Symptoms like period problems may be down to other issues, so it's important to get a proper diagnosis. There are various tests that your doctor can do, such as an ultrasound or a pelvic exam. You may need a laparoscopy, which is an examination done under general anaesthesia, using a special instrument to look at the tissue.
2. Support Group
If your endometriosis is having a serious impact on your life, it can help to talk to other women who are going through the same problems. There are support groups listed here throughout the US and in other countries (endomarch.org ). If you're in the UK, look at endometriosis-uk.org.
One possible problem with endometriosis is that it can affect your fertility. If you're having problems getting pregnant, and you're experiencing symptoms that could be down to endometriosis, see your doctor. It's obviously not the only cause of infertility, but many women have successfully conceived after having their endometriosis treated.
4. Other Remedies
Using a hot water bottle or having a warm bath can help to ease symptoms. Some women like the wheat bags that you heat up in the microwave. Physiotherapy can help you to strengthen your pelvic floor muscles and reduce pain, and reducing stress may also be beneficial. You could also try using a TENS machine, such as some women use for pain relief when giving birth.
5. The Pill
Your doctor may recommend that you go on the Pill to manage your symptoms. They may also suggest that you take it without a break for a time. Another hormonal contraceptive that can reduce your symptoms is the IUS, or hormonal coil (especially useful if you want a long-term contraceptive method). There are also other hormone treatments that can help.
Surgery may be recommended for some women, and can improve your chances of getting pregnant if you're having trouble conceiving. This surgery is often done by laparoscopy, which means only a small incision is necessary. Hysterectomy may be recommended, but only in severe cases; the ovaries will be removed as well so that no more estrogen is produced.
7. Home Treatment
Treatment isn't always necessary; about 30% of sufferers will get better without it. Mild symptoms can be managed with painkillers such as paracetamol. You can also try other painkillers like Ibuprofen or codeine, although these may have side effects.
If you're having problems with your periods, or getting abdominal pain, see your doctor. You don't have to put up with painful periods; they're not just 'one of those things' about being a woman. And if the problem is caused by endometriosis, there are options you can try to improve the condition. It can have a significant impact on your life, and can happen to women of all ages, including teenage girls. Did you have trouble getting your doctor to take your symptoms seriously?