Endometriosis is a common condition which affects around 1.5 million women in the UK, but unfortunately many of these women are likely to be living with the symptoms without a diagnosis.
I often meet women who have been struggling with their symptoms for years, just accepting the cards they have been dealt with regards to their periods. And unfortunately diagnosing endometriosis is not always that easy – sometimes scans and initial examinations can be normal. In fact, the only true way to formally diagnose the condition is to physically see it – usually during a laparoscopy (a surgical procedure where a telescope is inserted into the abdomen to look at the internal organs – often called ‘keyhole surgery’)
What is important is if you have symptoms that concern you, don’t just put up with them. Write them down and then go and see your doctor. Endometriosis UK have a good symptom diary you can access on their website.
Symptoms that are common with endometriosis include:
Pain low in the abdomen/pelvis, often worse during your period, that stops you doing normal activities
Pelvic pain when using the toilet, especially during your period
Pain when having sex
Even though diagnosis can be difficult, there are things that can be used to help your symptoms straight away. Hormonal treatments such as the pill or the hormonal coil (intrauterine system – ‘IUS’) can be very effective. There are also other medications that can help with pain and reduce blood loss during your period. You don’t just have to put up with it!!