Endometriosis Awareness Month: It’s not just cramps

 
By Staff Writer • Published: March 4th, 2014
Category: Health in a Heartbeat
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That time of the month can bring a load of woes, including bloating, breakouts, mood swings and sluggishness … and then there are cramps. It’s one thing if cramps are a bit bothersome and you have to pop some ibuprofen to quell the pain, but it’s a problem when they keep you confined to bed for a week.

It might be endometriosis. March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, dedicated to helping women understand the symptoms of this condition that affects almost 176 million women and girls worldwide.

Endometriosis is a reproductive and immunological disease in which tissue similar to the uterine lining drifts outside the womb and plants itself in other areas of the body. When this endometrial tissue attaches to other body parts, they can become swollen. The inflammation may create scar tissue around the area, developing into lesions, nodules or growths. Endometriosis is largely responsible for so-called killer cramps and painful periods. And there is no known cause or cure for the condition. A procedure called a laparoscopy can confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis.

Other symptoms include abdominal cramps or back pain during menstruation, painful and heavy periods and difficulty becoming pregnant.

Mild symptoms may not require treatment, but hormones can help reduce the size of growths as well as blood produced during menstruation, which can ease pain. For women trying to get pregnant, laparoscopic surgery can remove scar tissue and improve fertility.

But even simple home remedies like heat pads, leg elevation and regular exercise can boost blood flow and soothe pain. Endometriosis doesn’t have to mean a life of being bedridden during that time of the month. A mix of medication and good old T-L-C can keep this condition in check and your period pain-free.