It’s painful, it drastically hinders fertility, and, according to the CDC, it affects over 11% of American women.
March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month. Endometriosis is a very common health problem for women- especially those in their 30s and 40s.
What Is It?
The uterus (or womb) is lined by tissue called endometrium. Endometriosis, or endo, occurs when similar tissue grows outside of the uterus. Most often this extra tissue is found outside the uterus, on the fallopian tubes, and/or on your ovaries.
Do I Have It?
Excruciating pain, especially during menstruation, is the most common symptom of endo. Women also experience lower back or pelvis pain, pain during sexual intercourse, intestinal pain, and pain during bowel movements.
Bleeding between periods and difficulty getting pregnant are also key signs of undiagnosed endometriosis.
What’s the Problem?
The extra tissue, or endometriosis growths, are not cancerous. Unfortunately, they can trap blood and cause painful cysts. Additionally, cysts and excess bleeding may cause scarring which leads to pain and difficulty getting pregnant.
What Can I Do?
Endometriosis affects more than 6.5 million women in the United States, and any girl or woman who experiences menstruation can get endometriosis.
Endometriosis cannot be prevented. Experts recommend keeping your estrogen levels low and also:
- Talk with your doctor about hormonal birth control with lower estrogen
- Exercise and keep a low percentage of body fat
- Avoid large amounts of alcohol and caffeine.
The SCCAA Community Actions Pathway HUB is an available resource for pregnant and new mothers in need of support, education, and community services. You can visit https://www.womenshealth.gov/a-z-topics/endometriosis for more information about endometriosis and how to identify and treat it.