A woman who suffers from endometriosis pain can find her periods downright unbearable. While most women are able to take Midol and go on with their day, an endometriosis sufferer usually needs more to find relief and may find themselves at a loss when it comes to pain management.
Why It Hurts So Much
With endometriosis, the tissue from the uterine lining, also known as endometrium, somehow manages to grow outside of the uterus on and around the ovaries, the pelvic cavity and even on the bowels or bladder. This is what causes the pain. The endometrium can cause lesions, adhesions and inflammation and every month when the uterine lining prepares for menstruation, this misplaced tissue is also affected causing even more pain. So women with endometriosis don’t only have excruciating periods but also often chronic pelvic pain as well. And endometriosis is one of the leading causes of infertility.
Endometriosis pain can be felt in the lower abdomen and pelvic region, the lower back, during and after sex and sometimes even when having a bowel movement.
Dealing with the pain of endometriosis isn’t easy but it can be managed and even eliminated depending on whether or not you are a candidate for surgery. Some of the things you can do to control the pain include:
Pain Medication: Over-the-counter pain killers work for some women but for many there is a need for prescription strength medication. Talk to your doctor about NSAIDS (Non-Steroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs) and other stronger pain management medications.
Exercise: It may sound unusual or even extremely painful but regular exercise has been proven effective in managing and minimizing endometriosis pain and cramps. While the jury is still out on the specifics, regular stretching seems to be the most helpful along with other low impact exercises.
Birth Control Pills: Lose dose estrogen oral contraceptives are one of the first treatment options your doctor will recommend. Birth control pills not only help with the pain but will also help with heavy and irregular bleeding which is also a common problem experienced by women with endometriosis.
Hormone Therapy: This is used when the birth control pill doesn’t seem to be sufficient in managing the symptoms of endometriosis. Gonadotropin agonist drugs and progesterone are commonly used because they stop the ovaries from producing estrogen which aggravates endometriosis.
Surgery: Laparoscopic surgery is a non-invasive surgery that uses small incisions and allows the doctor to go in and remove pain-causing scar tissue. If Laparoscopy was used to diagnose your endometriosis then the same incisions will be used for this surgery. One of the last resorts for treating severe endometriosis pain is a hysterectomy which is invasive surgery that removes the entire uterus. This is a last resort due to the fact that it causes instant menopause and of course, takes away your ability to get pregnant.