Endometriosis Symptoms & Your Period
Endometriosis is a painful condition, typically affecting menstruating women between 24 to 40 years old. Endometriosis symptoms can seem quite benign as the main three are painful periods, pain or difficulty with intercourse, and infertility. It’s often a difficult condition to diagnose because it can mimic other conditions, or may possibly be asymptomatic.
Women who have a family history of endometriosis, are most at risk of inheriting this condition. Researchers are a bit stumped when it it comes to figuring out the cause of endometriosis, and theories include: endocrine disruption, inflammation, retrograde menstrual flow, etc.
How Endometriosis Affects Your Period
Experiencing some pain before and during a cycle is common – after all we are experiencing muscular contractions. While the pain can be amplified due to stress, food reactions and other hormonal issues – pain due to endometriosis can often be debilitating.
The pain can be so intense that it may cause nausea or vomiting, or even prevent a woman from going to school or work. Pain due to endometriosis is known as secondary dysmenorrhea – and can be characterized as throbbing, burning or stabbing; located in the pelvis, back and may travel down the legs; and may not respond to over the counter pain medications.
Heavy bleeding occurs when women lose more than 80mL of blood each cycle. Quantifying blood lost using tampons or pads can be quite difficult due to difficult absorbency. I’ve solved this issue by using the Diva Cup for the last couple of years, and it’s made it very easy to quantify the amount of blood lost.
It’s important to keep in mind how often you are changing a pad/tampon or emptying your menstrual cup (ie. every 2 hours or less), because this can be another factor of heavy bleeding. A common risk of heavy bleeding is iron deficiency, and can lead to a wide range of symptoms including fatigue, cold hands and feet, and hair loss.
Infertility can occur because a woman is not ovulating, or is experiencing irregular cycles. Oftentimes endometriosis may be diagnosed when a woman presents to her healthcare practitioner worried about fertility. Fertility may be affected because of distortion of the fallopian tubes and ovaries (as endometrial lesions likely present there), it may impair the release of the egg, or alter fertilization. To determine if you are fertile, basic tests to start off with are basal body temperature and tracking cervical mucus.
Other Endometriosis Symptoms and Signs Include:
Spotting between cycles
Pain with bowel movements (such as straining)
Pain with urination
Chronic bearing-down pain
Bleeding from nose, bladder and/or bowels
Tender enlarged ovaries
Although this presents as a rather difficult condition to treat, there is hope! Many natural therapies have been shown to be successful. Therefore, if you are noticing any of these symptoms associated with your period or otherwise, and are looking for a natural treatment book an appointment with me!
Now that you have a solid plan of where to start, please sign up for my monthly newsletter called The Flow for more informative and useful content like this! I want to make sure that you have a manageable flow!