How does endometriosis affect my menstrual cycle?

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, so this question couldn’t have come at a better time! Symptoms of endometriosis are often written off as normal menstrual pain, so learning more about this condition is a great way to take charge of your health.

Endometriosis is a condition that causes the tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus, resulting in period pain and a shorter amount of time in between cycles. In many cases, endometriosis can also cause excessive menstrual bleeding.

People with endometriosis experience menstrual pain when the tissue meant to line the uterus becomes trapped outside of it, sticking to the ovaries and resulting in cysts called endometriomas. This pain often begins before normal period cramps would, and can also be accompanied by lower back pain. Many doctors prescribe hormonal birth control to patients in order to minimize discomfort.

Endometriosis can also impact the length of someone’s menstrual cycles, as well as how long their bleeding lasts. Since their body has more tissue to shed, their periods may last longer. Their cycles may become shorter, with menstruation beginning sooner than every 28 days. They may also experience bleeding and pain during ovulation.

Other symptoms of endometriosis include infertility, nausea, fatigue, pain during intercourse or deep penetration, and pain with bowel movements. Endometriosis is often confused with Irritable Bowel Syndrome, and knowing the symptoms that differentiate the two is crucial. With endometriosis, the severity of the pain does not always indicate the severity of the condition. Everyone experiences endometriosis and its symptoms differently.

If you are experiencing these symptoms, you may want to consult with a gynecologist. To learn more about symptoms and causes of endometriosis, check out Women’s Health Magazine’s article here.

 

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