March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. An estimated 1 in 10 women have endometriosis. Endometriosis is a disorder affecting a woman’s uterus, which is where a baby grows when a woman is pregnant. It is a painful condition where endometrial tissue, similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus. Endometrial tissue can grow on the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the bowels, or on the bladder. It is rare for it to grow on other parts of the body. The “misplaced” tissue can result in pain, ranging in severity, fertility problems, and extreme heavy periods. Fortunately, treatment options are available for women living with this condition.
The most common symptom is pelvic pain, specifically pelvic pain with menstrual periods. Cramping is common during menstrual periods, however patients with endometriosis describe menstrual pain that is increasingly worse than normal.
Painful periods: Pelvic pain that begins before or after menstrual period.
Pain with intercourse: Pain during or after sex.
Pain with bowel movements or urination: Symptom most commonly experienced during menstrual period.
Excessive Bleeding: Bleeding between menstrual periods or heavy bleeding during periods.
Infertility: Often endometriosis is diagnosed when patients are seeking treatment for infertility.
It is important to see a doctor immediately for any symptoms. Treatment for endometriosis can involve medication or surgery. A doctor will recommend treatment options based on each patient’s severity, signs, and symptoms.
Never giving birth
Starting your period at an early age
Going through menopause at an older age
Short menstrual cycles
Heavy menstrual periods that last longer than seven days
Having higher levels of estrogen in your body or a greater lifetime exposure to estrogen your body produces
Low body mass index
One or more relatives with endometriosis
Any medical condition that prevents the passage of blood from the body during menstrual periods
Disorders of the reproductive tract
How To Celebrate
Participate in a walk or run in your local area
Raise awareness by sharing on social media
Educate your community of friends and family about endomitosis
Donate to The Endometriosis Foundation of America (EndoFound) at endofound.org
1. “Common Reproductive Health Concerns for Women.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 27 Apr. 2018, https://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/womensrh/healthconcerns.html.
2. “Endometriosis Awareness Month 2022.” Cochrane, The Cochrane Collaboration, 1 Mar. 2022, https://www.cochrane.org/news/endometriosis-awareness-month-2022.
3. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Endometriosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 July 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20354661.
4. Mayo Clinic Staff. “Endometriosis.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 July 2018, https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656.