Buddy Check 7: Identifying and living with endometriosis

Buddy Check 7
Published: Nov. 7, 2022 at 6:31 PM CST
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WESTON, Wis. (WSAW) - Every month millions of women across the U.S. go through their menstrual cycle. For some it’s painful but for about 190 million women it’s more than that; it’s endometriosis.

Endometriosis is mostly found in the pelvis but also can be in distant sites, like the lungs. It’s more common in women in their reproductive years.

Endometriosis symptoms can vary from person to person. Most women experience severe pain during their menstrual cycle. “It can be pain either with the menstrual cycle or prior to the menstrual cycle or pelvic pain any time of the month for the female including pain with intercourse. It can also result in pain in bowel movements or urination,” explained Dr. Jason Patzwald with Obstetrics & Gynecology, at Marshfield Clinic. However, it can also be associated with heavy bleeding, fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

Treatment varies for each patient. For those in child-bearing years, endometriosis is treated with hormonal suppression like birth control. Procedures are possible and include cauterizing or removing lesions. Another more severe option is to remove areas of the endometriosis, the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries since they produce estrogen, a source of endometriosis.

While there is no specific screening test for endometriosis, Dr. Patzwald said regular check-up like a well-woman exam is the best best way to catch a diagnosis early.

“Sometimes there’s even a perception of ‘well I’m a female I’m supposed to have pain at a certain time of the month. I’m supposed to have heavy bleeding.’ And that’s not true. So I tell anyone who feels something is different for them they should seek help right away,” said Dr. Patzwald.

Endometriosis is associated with an increased risk of having difficulty becoming pregnant, or infertility because of scar tissue, adhesions, and inflammation that could interfere with sperm and egg function. For some patients endometriosis is asymptomatic. If you have any concerns about infertility or endometriosis reach out to your doctor right away.