Endometriosis is a condition where tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (called the endometrium) grows outside of your uterus, where it doesn’t belong. When you have endometriosis, this tissue tends to grow on your ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outside of your uterus, as well as on your abdominal organs.
Endometriosis is a fairly common health problem. More than 5 million people are affected by it in the U.S. It can cause painful periods, heavy bleeding, and even make it more difficult to become pregnant. There’s no cure for endometriosis, but treatment can help with the symptoms.
- Pain right before and during your periods is the most common symptom of endometriosis
- Cramps aren’t fun for anyone, but with endometriosis, they can be even more intense
- A lot of people also have chronic (ongoing) lower belly or lower back pain. Pain from endometriosis can range from barely noticeable to preventing you from getting out of bed in the morning
- Endometriosis can also make vaginal sex uncomfortable
- Other symptoms are spotting between your periods, having very heavy period flows, and infertility
- Endometriosis sometimes makes it hurt to pee or have a bowel movement.
Some people with endometriosis don’t have any symptoms.
Is there treatment for Endometriosis?
Endometriosis can’t be cured, but it can be treated with medicine or surgery. If your symptoms aren’t too bad, pain relievers may be enough to help. If you don’t want to get pregnant right now, your doctor or nurse can prescribe hormonal birth control like (like the pill or a hormonal IUD) to cut down on pain and bleeding. There are other medications you can take for endometriosis if you’re trying to get pregnant.
Surgery may be an option for you if your symptoms are really bad or if you want to get pregnant but haven’t been able to. A surgeon will remove the growths that are outside of your uterus, cutting down on pain and making it easier for you to get pregnant. But often the growths come back after surgery, so you may need to take medication, too. As a last resort, some people have a hysterectomy — removing the uterus and sometimes the ovaries, though it’s impossible to become pregnant after that.