Teens and Endo
This section is designed to help teenagers understand the disease.
Do you find your period affects your life?
Do you avoid joining in some activities, or going out with your friends?
Is this because your periods give you tummy pain, or your periods are heavy, or you feel very unwell, or have trouble going to the toilet?
These problems are not normal .
You may have endometriosis, pronounced: ‘end-o-meet-ree-o-sis’.
What is endometriosis?
The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus (womb). This thickens each month and is shed as a period, if no pregnancy has occurred.
In endometriosis, tissue that is similar to the uterus lining grows outside the uterus, most commonly in the pelvis. This endometrial tissue responds in the same way with each period, but it has no escape route, and so causes pain.
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
- pain before, during and after periods
- pain at ovulation time (about 14 days before each period)
- heavy and/or irregular periods
- loss of large clots
- loss of brown discharge before and/or after periods
- loss of stale brown blood before and/or after periods
- bowel problems (difficulty going to the toilet – diarrhoea and/or constipation)
- bladder problems (difficulty passing water)
- pre-menstrual tension and mood swings
- low energy levels, lethargy (feeling lazy), insomnia (difficulty sleeping)
- pain at other times
- swollen tummy
- feeling cold (low body temperature)
- painful sex
Not everyone suffers all the symptoms listed. Some girls have no pain at all. This is why endometriosis is described as a puzzling and baffling disease.
How is endometriosis diagnosed?
A doctor may suspect endometriosis from your symptoms, but the only reliable way is by a small operation called a ‘laparoscopy’. This is carried out in hospital, under anaesthetic by a Gynaecologist, and sometimes requires an overnight stay. A tiny cut is made near the tummy button and a telescopic tube with a light at one end is used to look in the pelvis and abdomen.
What are the treatments for endometriosis?
There are numerous medical treatments available, which aim to stop periods temporarily by preventing ovulation. These prevent the endometriosis developing any further. Commonly used prescribed treatments include -