Shining a spotlight on a lesser-known women’s health issue, actor Lena Dunham has raised awareness by speaking openly and honestly about her experience with endometriosis. Unfortunately she’s not alone: More than five million women in the U.S. suffer from endometriosis, a common health problem that can cause chronic pain, and in some cases, infertility.
During Endometriosis Awareness Month, it’s important to bring attention to endometriosis and remind women of the importance of regular checkups and getting to know your body - no one should have to live in chronic pain.
What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus, and can cause chronic pain, often right before or during menstrual periods. Pain from endometriosis can range from barely noticeable to preventing you from getting out of bed in the morning. Other symptoms can include intestinal pain, spotting or bleeding between periods, pain during sex, and in some cases, infertility. It’s most often diagnosed in women in their 30s or 40s, although it can occur in anyone who has a uterus, including transgender individuals.
While there is no cure for endometriosis, for many people, hormonal birth control can be used to manage endometriosis. Birth control is basic health care and has many important health benefits for women and their families.
What should I do if I think I might have Endometriosis?
If you or someone you love might have endometriosis, you should make an appointment with a health care provider or visit your local Planned Parenthood health center. It’s important for you to be honest and as specific as possible about your symptoms so they can provide the best care possible. The more your health care provider knows about you, the better they’re able to help you stay healthy.
Good sexual health means getting to know your body and recognizing when you experience any changes. Regular checkups can keep you healthy and help find health problems before they become serious. And if you notice anything out of the ordinary – lumps, swelling, pain, spotting, or unusual discharge – talk with your health care provider. It might be less serious than you imagine, but you should have it checked out.
Endometriosis can be managed, and no one should have to live in chronic pain! Learn more about endometriosis.