Many women deal with abnormally heavy periods and painful periods without seeking help for them. Since every woman's body and cycle is different, many women simply think that this is normal for them. However, that's often not the case. Extremely painful periods shouldn't be something that you have to live with. In fact, it might be due to a condition called endometriosis. Here's what you need to know about this condition and some information that can help you to decide if it might be happening to you.
What Endometriosis Is
Endometriosis is an odd condition. No one's exactly sure what causes it, but it nonetheless impacts a number of women all over the planet. This condition is specifically where uterine tissue grows where it doesn't belong.
Your body's uterus is made up of a special kind of tissue that's filled with estrogen and progesterone receptors. This helps the uterine lining to shed when a period comes, and for it to bulk up and become supportive of an infant when a woman is pregnant. This is why only that part of the body sheds and bleeds when you're on your period.
Why It Hurts So Much
When uterine tissue grows where it doesn't belong, it can cause a lot of pain. This is because the tissue is still responding to the same hormones that the healthy, normal uterine tissue is.
Think about it this way: uterine tissue typically sheds and bleeds at least once a month with a normal cycle. This holds true to endometrial tissue, as well. Wherever the uterine tissue develops, it will bleed and shed. This can cause excruciating pain for women if it's happening where it doesn't belong. It also means that cramps that are usually limited to the uterus can also happen wherever endometrial tissue develops.
What to Do About It
The good news is, there are a few things you can do about this condition.
The first is to visit a gynecologist. They can talk to you about your symptoms to help narrow down whether or not it might be endometriosis. If they think that it could be, they'll likely order some tests, like an ultrasound or MRI, to take a look at your insides to see if they can find abnormal tissue.
If abnormal tissue is found, there are a couple of things can be done. The first and least invasive is birth control. Birth control can be utilized year-round in order to prevent the shedding and bleeding from happening, or it can be used normally to help shrink the tissue and prevent it from growing larger. Whichever your doctor decides upon will ultimately be based on your needs and personal health history.
For extreme cases, surgery is used to remove the unwanted endometrial tissue. This is usually done with microscopic tools that reduce recovery time and can potentially let you go home the same day.
Endometriosis is a serious condition that shouldn't be ignored. If you think that your painful periods aren't normal, it's time to talk to a gynecologist about it.