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woman laying down with endometriosis painA menstrual period is always uncomfortable but for some women it’s a monthly nightmare of bleeding and spotting, diarrhea, constipation, intense cramps and debilitating pain. This is a condition known as endometriosis when cells that line the uterus begin growing on other parts of your reproductive system and pelvic area. It can cause swelling and pain because the tissue grows and bleeds in areas where it can’t easily get out of your body as it would normally during menstruation.

It’s believed that over six million women in America suffer from endometriosis and we don't know for sure what causes it. Theories range from problems with menstrual period flow to issues with the immune system and genetics.

Higher levels of the hormone estrogen, never having children or experiencing menstrual periods that last more than seven days are also associated with endometriosis. The condition is more common in women who are in their 30s and 40s but endometriosis can occur anytime during your reproductive years and has been seen in girls as young as age 11.

Endometriosis can be diagnosed during a pelvic exam or by using ultrasound to check for ovarian cysts that may be caused by endometriosis. Treatments can include pain relievers like Advil, Motrin or Aleve for mild symptoms. If you’re not trying to get pregnant, birth control pills can help to stop bleeding and reduce or eliminate the pain of endometriosis.

Exercising for at least 150 minutes a week is also recommended because this can help you maintain a lower percentage of body fat which can decrease the amount of estrogen in your body. Other preventative steps include avoiding too much alcohol that can also raise estrogen levels and drinking no more than one caffeinated beverage a day. Surgery is a treatment option for severe symptoms when hormones are not providing relief or you’re having fertility problems.

If you experience extreme menstrual pain every time you have your period don’t just accept it as being normal. Talk with your OB/GYN about whether you might be suffering from endometriosis.

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax