Sisters With Endometriosis?
Do you and your sister both have endometriosis? This is more common than you may think. Studies have shown that women with a family history of endometriosis are much more likely to have it themselves. The term family history refers to members of your immediate family, or your mother and sister. If either your mother of your sister has endometriosis, consider seeing a doctor to determine if you have it as well.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when the endometrium, a tissue that lines the inside of the uterus, also grows outside of the uterus. The endometrium, during your menstrual cycle, thickens to get ready for the egg. If the egg is fertilized, it will attach to the endometrium and begin to grow. If the egg is not fertilized, the endometrium breaks down and is flushed from your body as blood (your period). If you have endometriosis when this happens, the tissue outside the uterus, called implants, breaks down but cannot leave the body. This usually occurs on the fallopian tubes, ovaries, or tissue lining the pelvis. Very rarely does this happen in other parts of the body. The trapped blood can lead to the growth of cysts, which in turn may form scar tissue or adhesions, causing pain especially during your period. The scars and adhesions may cause fertility problems.
What Are the Symptoms?
- Pain: Including severe cramps, back ache, rectal pain, pain during sex and pain during bowel movements.
- Bleeding: Including bleeding after sex, premenstrual spotting (bleeding before the period) and blood in the urine or stool.
- Infertility: Often this is how women find out they have endometriosis. Twenty to forty percent of infertile women have endometriosis.
How Long Do the Symptoms Last?
Some women experience pain just before their period. This pain usually goes away with the cycle. Others experience pain constantly and the menstrual cycle does not relieve it. Pain is caused by the location of the implant and how deep in the tissue it is buried. Size does not matter as much. Often, the only long term relief from endometriosis is pregnancy or menopause.
What Can I Do to Relieve My Symptoms?
Relief can be found in a number of ways. Anti-imflammatory drugs can relieve the pain, but shouldn't be taken for more than a few days at a time. A heating pad placed over the painful area can go a long ways in reducing pain and easing the cramping. Relaxation techniques like deep breathing and gentle stretching can also help. Consider getting regular exercise, as it's known to increase blood flow and produce endorphins, which are natural pain relievers.
Sources: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/endometriosis/DS00289 http://women.webmd.com/endometriosis/endometriosis-topic-overview