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When Painful Periods are a Sign of Endometriosis

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, the ideal time to increase awareness about the often painful, chronic disease that affects women during their childbearing years.

At The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group, we provide comprehensive diagnostic testing to uncover whether endometriosis is the cause of your severe cramps and painful periods. Our experienced OB/GYNs also customize care plans to relieve the worst of your symptoms and protect your fertility if you wish to have children.

The link between endometriosis and painful periods

Endometriosis is a chronic disease that causes a woman’s uterine lining (endometrium) to grow beyond the uterus.

Problems occur because the endometrium tissue continues to act like it normally does – thickening and breaking down each month with your period. Since the tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped, which leads to pelvic pain, intestinal pain, and cramping during your menstrual cycle.

The intensity of symptoms varies from woman to woman based on the extent of tissue growth. Endometrial tissue can spread over any of the reproductive organs, including the cervix and vagina, and also cover organs like the bowel, bladder, and rectum.

While rare, endometrial tissue can also reach as far as the lungs and brain.

Additional warning signs of endometriosis

Besides increased pelvic pain and cramping during your period, endometriosis can cause other symptoms, including:

Women with endometriosis can also have difficulties becoming pregnant due to the overgrowth of endometrial tissue on their reproductive organs. Excess tissue can block the release of eggs from your ovaries or prevent sperm from traveling to an egg for fertilization.

In some cases, inflammation and scar tissue triggered by endometriosis can lead to ongoing infertility issues or difficulties maintaining a viable pregnancy.

Endometriosis typically resolves during the transition to menopause, the end of a woman’s childbearing years. This is because excess tissue relies on estrogen to grow. As your estrogen levels decline, you may notice a gradual lessening of your symptoms. 

However, some women may continue to experience endometriosis-related pain throughout their postmenopausal years.

Understanding your treatment options for endometriosis

Endometriosis is a chronic but treatable disease. While there’s currently no cure, our experienced medical providers can help you manage the condition and its symptoms. We also offer resources to enhance your fertility, so you can conceive and maintain a healthy pregnancy.

Nonsurgical treatments for endometriosis include hormonal birth control to regulate menstrual bleeding and reduce the severity of cramps.  If you’re not able to tolerate hormones or want to conceive, we can prescribe gonadotropin-releasing agonist, a medication that puts you into temporary menopause to slow the growth of endometrial tissue for some time.

When your endometriosis symptoms are severe or your infertility issues continue, our OB/GYNs can determine if you’re a candidate for surgery. We offer laparoscopic, robotic gynecologic surgery to remove excess tissue from your reproductive organs. This type of minimally invasive procedure helps clear blockages to increase your chances of successful conception.

Our team continues to monitor your progress with treatment during routine follow-up visits. They also work with you on a long-range care plan to manage endometriosis symptoms, so your monthly periods are more comfortable.

With offices in New York and New Jersey, call The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group office near you today to schedule an endometriosis evaluation or book a consultation online.

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