Painful periods? While pain is a normal part of most women’s menstrual cycles, some women experience debilitating pain before and during periods, during sex and more. March is National Endometriosis Awareness Month, and it’s a good time to understand more about something often misunderstood.

Here are the fast facts on endometriosis:

  • It affects 6.3 million women and girls in the U.S.
  • The endometrium is the tissue that lines the uterus. Endometriosis occurs when this type of tissue is found outside the uterus — usually in the abdomen on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and ligaments that support the uterus; the area between the vagina and rectum; the outer surface of the uterus; and the lining of the pelvic cavity.
  • The misplaced tissue develops into growths or lesions, which go through the same process as your cycle: each month the tissue builds up, breaks down, and sheds. Menstrual blood flows from the uterus and out of the body through the vagina, but the blood and tissue shed from endometrial growths has no way of leaving the body. This results in internal bleeding, breakdown of the blood and tissue from the lesions, and inflammation — and can cause pain, infertility, scar tissue formation, adhesions, and bowel problems.

Symptoms include:

  • Pain before and during periods
  • Pain with sex
  • Infertility
  • Fatigue
  • Painful urination during periods
  • Painful bowel movements during periods
  • Other Gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea.

Below are two wonderful and informative pieces we found to help you better understand this disease.

"Did You Know Killer Cramps Are Not Normal?" is a great video by the folks at Endometriosis Foundation of America that shares information about Endometriosis in an informative and enagaing manner.

 

The below infographic from RMA of Texas presents symptoms, causes and treatments for endometriosis and aims to bring more awareness to this terrible disease so hopefully a cure can be found soon.

[Click image for full size version]