March is National Endometriosis Month
March is National Endometriosis month! If you live with it, you are not alone! We’re sharing everything you need to know about endometriosis in this post.
There are some health concerns that can be difficult to diagnose because either there isn’t a test for them, or the symptoms mirror those of another condition.
When diseases like that can negatively affect fertility, they’re even worse because infertility can touch those matters of the heart that matter most.
Endometriosis is one such disease. Not only is there not a definitive test to diagnose it (as in finding antibodies in a patient’s blood sample, for example), but it can be difficult to pin down just by analyzing the symptoms.
What’s worse is that endometriosis can affect fertility. In fact, about 30-40% of women with endometriosis also experience fertility problems.
Endometriosis is when the endometrium, the cells that line the uterine wall, grow out of control. These cells can grow elsewhere in the pelvic region as well, and in rare cases, elsewhere in the body.
They can attach to other organs, and can cause significant pain, in addition to infertility.
As March is National Endometriosis Month, we decided now is a great time to guide you through understanding this disease.
Endometriosis cannot be cured, but it can be treated if it is properly diagnosed. We’ll take you through the key information so that you can decide if endometriosis is something you want to discuss with your doctor.
In this guide, we’ll cover symptoms of endometriosis, in depth.
There are many symptoms that can point to a diagnosis of endometriosis. The problem is that many of these symptoms can also present due to other conditions.
Yet, if you find yourself dealing with any of these conditions or symptoms, you may want to consult with your gynecologist about the possibility of an endometriosis diagnosis.
Symptoms You Test
The tricky thing about diagnosing endometriosis is that not all symptoms can be confirmed in a lab, which is why we decided to separate out those symptoms that can be tested.
One of the ever-present symptoms of endometriosis is too much estrogen and not enough progesterone. The high estrogen levels is also what causes endometriosis.
If you test for too much estrogen, it doesn’t automatically mean that you have endometriosis, but this can be a supporting symptom in a diagnosis.
Another hormonal imbalance that can be a red flag is the reverse T3 thyroid hormone. The thyroid is responsible for regulating many of your body’s functions, so a doctor may elect to test this hormone level if your body is not self-regulating.
When should you get tested for hormonal imbalance?
Some symptoms of high estrogen include irregular menstrual periods or severe PMS.
If you have extreme weight fluctuations that you cannot control by diet, exercise, and getting the right amount of sleep, that might be a clue that your thyroid isn’t performing as expected.
A crucial nutrient for so many of the body’s functions, magnesium can often be absorbed through diet or a daily vitamin.
For example, magnesium regulates the following:
- Muscle and nerve function
- Blood sugar levels
- Blood pressure
- Creation of protein, bone, and DNA
Like the hormonal imbalances mentioned above, low magnesium can support an endometriosis diagnosis but does not necessarily point to this disease.
When should you get tested for low magnesium?
A common symptom of low magnesium is if your hands and feet are cold most of the time.
Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
A syndrome characterized by strings of cysts that grow on the ovary or ovaries, PCOS can lead to many concerns, including more painful than normal menstrual cramps, weight gain, diabetes, acne, male pattern baldness, and facial hair growth.
Often a symptom of endometriosis, PCOS is often confused with it. The problem with that is that doctors end up treating the symptom, not the underlying disease.
If you have been diagnosed with PCOS, yet you have some of these other symptoms, you might want to talk with your doctor about endometriosis.
Symptoms You Can’t Always Test
If National Endometriosis Month provides the opportunity for one improvement, let it be that this disease can cause many symptoms that don’t always seem to go together.
The fact though is that these symptoms do fit when you think of the fact that the disease allows endometrial cells to grow outside of the uterus.
The digestive tract can act like a barometer for so many conditions and concerns. With endometriosis, this remains true. If you’ve had unsolved digestive troubles, you might want to discuss this disease with your doctor.
Have you been diagnosed with IBS? Tested for Crohn’s Disease? If you have symptoms of these but treatments aren’t helping, that might be because you don’t have IBS or Crohn’s, especially if symptoms worsen during ovulation.
Food intolerances, yeast infections in the throat or stool, and candida overgrowth can also point to endometriosis.
These other symptoms may not point directly to endometriosis, but like so many of the symptoms discussed above can support a diagnosis.
- Pain in the lower back and legs before and during menstruation
- Bladder infections
- Urinary tract infections
Why We Need National Endometriosis Month
Like so many diseases, awareness not only helps individual patients get diagnosed so that they can be treated, but it can also increase research efforts.
Endometriosis is too often ignored or undiagnosed, leaving millions of women to suffer the symptoms. By raising awareness, we can hope to diagnose faster, treat faster, and minimize the emotional and physical pain this disease brings.
Please share this guide via your social media networks or email to help raise awareness for National Endometriosis Month.
Did the symptoms we outlined above sound a little too familiar? Now might be a good time to talk with your doctor about endometriosis.
If you have this disease, you are not alone. Endometriosis affects 176 million women throughout the world. The good news is that while there is no cure, there are several treatment options available.
This National Endometriosis Month, don’t let your symptoms run rampant. If you have any questions about endometriosis and infertility, contact us today.