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Your Questions About Endometriosis, Answered

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Sometimes it’s hard to know if the pain you’re experiencing is normal or if it’s something else.

If you’re someone who gets a period every month, you know how unpleasant it can be. But sometimes it’s hard to know if the pain you’re experiencing is normal or if it’s something else. In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month, The Right Time wants to help you understand what endometriosis is, what it feels like, and what people can do if they have it.  

What is endometriosis? 

According to the Mayo Clinic, endometriosis is a disorder where the tissue (or endometrium) that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside of the uterus. Unlike the endometrium that lines the uterus and sheds during the menstrual cycle, endometrium that grows outside the uterus can cause very painful periods. This can lead to scarring in the fallopian tubes that may affect your chances of getting pregnant in the future.   

How do I know I have endometriosis? How is it diagnosed? 

Some people who have endometriosis don’t have any symptoms at all but, the most common symptoms of endometriosis are painful period cramps and heavy bleeding with your periods. Other people with endometriosis may have spotting or pain throughout their cycles (including during sex).  

While endometriosis can cause pain and bleeding, those symptoms can be caused by other things as well, such as fibroids or a sexually transmitted infection. Surgery to look for the scar tissue caused by endometriosis is the only way to know for certain if you have it, but your provider can rule out other causes of your heavy or painful periods first.   

How is endometriosis treated? 

While there is no cure for endometriosis, there are treatments that can help you manage your symptoms. Pain medications, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen, can help with the pain and inflammation caused by endometriosis. Hormonal birth control, like the pill, the shot, or the hormonal IUD, which thin the endometrium (that’s why your periods are usually lighter while using these methods), can help to prevent that tissue from growing outside of the uterus, decreasing your symptoms and reducing scar tissue.  

What should you do if you think you have endometriosis? 

If you think you might have endometriosis, talk to a provider at your nearest The Right Time health center. They can go over your symptoms and talk about your treatment options. They may refer you to a specialist. 

Where can I learn more?  

We have some information that might help you decide if you need to speak to a health care provider, and how birth control can help with endometriosis (as well as your other period symptoms).   

Updated February 2021

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