These are the five biggest indicators that you may have undiagnosed endometriosis
10 per cent of women have endometriosis
Endometriosis is a condition where tissue similar to the lining of the womb grows on other organs, and is often associated with very painful periods. It's the second most common gynaecological condition, and it takes an average of seven and a half years to be diagnosed from when the symptoms are first felt. If left untreated, endometriosis can cause infertility, severe pain and even bladder and bowel problems. Many women don't realise that the symptoms they are experiencing are in fact abnormal, so here are a few indicators that may mean you need to pay a visit to your GP.
You have very painful periods
Period pain is something that most women experience, so it's easy to feel like you're attention seeking by going to the doctor for it. However, if you dread each period because your cramps are so intense, it may be worth considering. Lying on your bed in agony for hours isn't normal, and neither is losing consciousness or vomiting due to your pain. Pain in the lower back and legs, groin and hips is also common in those who have endometriosis. If you find yourself missing work, uni or social events because of your discomfort it's important to go to your GP.
Your have very heavy periods
For many people talking about menstruation often feels like a taboo. Very few people sit down with their mates and talk about how often they change their tampons, so how can we know how much is too much? Well, if you have to use both a tampon and a sanitary towel at night to prevent leaks or set alarms so you can get up and change, this is a (no pun intended) red flag. Having to change your pad or tampon every hour or two and regularly bleeding through your underwear or clothes are also signs that your period is unusually heavy.
You experience pain during sex
You might feel a tugging, an aching or a stabbing pain in your pelvic area during sex, and sometimes you may experience this pain up to two days afterwards. It's awkward, it's uncomfortable, and it's really embarrassing to talk about, especially with your partner or doctor. Nonetheless, it's really important that you do talk about it. Nobody deserves to suffer through pain when they're supposed to be having a good time, and in conjunction with the other symptoms, it can help your doctor build a better picture of what may be going on.
Going to the toilet is uncomfortable
Yet another symptom that's pretty mortifying to talk about with your doctor! Pain when peeing or pooing during your period is another symptom of endometriosis, along with diarrhoea, constipation and blood in your urine or stool. Recurrent cystitis (bladder inflammation) that you can't find an explanation for can also point to endometriosis. If you have these symptoms, it might be useful to keep a diary and show it to your GP.
You bloat really badly
With endometriosis, on any given day, your belly may bloat for seemingly no reason, and often you don't know when it's going to go away. It can be very uncomfortable to get by all day with a rock hard stomach. Although it can be a knock to your self esteem, it is important to remember that it will go down at some point.
Often, you don't need to show signs of having all of these symptoms to have endometriosis – this isn't a comprehensive list of all the indicators. If you feel like something is wrong, then trust yourself and go to your doctor. It's alway best to check.
Featured image credit: @endohealthhub