Does Endometriosis Mimic Normal Menstrual Pain?
Updated: Aug 16, 2019
A large majority of women and girls deal with painful periods every month. Some of us get cramps like clock-work and some of us hardly ever get cramps. However, there is a certain level of pain that comes with having endometriosis, a level of pain that can exceed that of normal period cramps and pains. Do you know someone that suffers from endometriosis? Or do you even know what it is?
Endometriosis is a condition that causes the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus which results in unbearable period pain and a shorter amount of time between menstrual cycles. For those with endometriosis, there’s more tissue to shed which means their periods may last longer and, in some cases, can cause excessive bleeding. Seven million women in the U.S. have endometriosis!
One of the top five common signs of having endometriosis, according to Hopkins Medicine, is painful periods. Specifically, a debilitating pain that can’t be put at bay with your usual dosage of Midol. Other common signs of endometriosis are: chronic pelvic pain, painful intercourse, ovarian cysts and infertility. Unfortunately, because endometriosis can mimic painful period cramps, some women may have a hard time getting a proper diagnosis and can be told by doctors that their symptoms are linked to something less invasive.
For example, Diana Falzone, a New York TV host and reporter, was brushed off by both a general practitioner and gynecologist after experiencing intense/sharp pain along with heavy bleeding while she was not on her period.
Diana knew that what she was experiencing was something much more than a hormonal imbalance or the flu. She knew her body all too well. For women like Diana who get misdiagnosed or receive no actual diagnosis at all, it makes it harder for them as they continue to struggle with immense pain and knowing that something is wrong with their bodies. Fortunately, Diana Falzone continued to seek help and with a new gynecologist she was able to receive a proper diagnosis.
As with other women that are diagnosed with endometriosis, Diana went into immediate surgery. Surgery for endometriosis can be: deep excision, cold excision, ablation or cauterization. What’s considered to be “the standard” out of these surgeries is minimally invasive laparoscopic excision surgery. Outside of the uterus, endometriosis can grow on/under the ovaries, behind the uterus, on the tissues that hold the uterus in place and on the bowels or bladder.
Endometriosis can be classified into four different stages. Stage one, peritoneal endometriosis, is the most minimal form. This is followed by stages two through four, which are: ovarian endometriomas, deep infiltrating endometriosis I and deep infiltrating endometriosis II.
Diana’s story and many others like hers are a constant reminder to not only know and be aware of your body but to always advocate for yourself when going to see doctors. This is also important for young girls as well because endometriosis can be present during their first period. Endometriosis is more than just a “bad period”.
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