Who is impacted by endometriosis?
Contrary to the median diagnosis age of 25-30, 66% of women report experiencing symptoms as teenagers. 1 in 10 women are affected by endometriosis, typically starting around puberty. Believe it or not, endometriosis has been reported in girls as young as 11.
Early treatment is imperative. If endometriosis is left untreated, it can worsen over time. This is why it’s incredibly important to know the symptoms of endometriosis, how to advocate for the health of loved young ones and, most importantly, how to get help. The Kaldas Center is here to help.
How To Tell If Your Teenager Is Affected By Endometriosis
Girls who start their menstrual cycles early have an increased risk of developing endometriosis. Young girls share the same symptom patterns of endometriosis as adult women. The most common endometriosis symptoms include cramps, lower back and pelvic pain, extra-heavy bleeding during periods, heavy spotting between periods, nausea and abnormal bowel and urinary movements.
Endometriosis can also affect the brain. Those with endometriosis are more likely to have anxiety, depression or other mental health issues. Researchers also believe that they have found an endometriosis-fatigue connection. Constantly feeling tired, especially around one’s period, is a warning sign of endometriosis.
Endometriosis Pain is Different From ‘Normal’ Menstrual Pain
Pain caused by endometriosis is much different than normal menstrual pain.
Endo pain typically starts 1-2 weeks prior to the menstrual cycle and lasts throughout the majority of bleeding days. Besides stomach cramps, endometriosis pain can be located in the abdominal wall, lower back or down the legs. Endometriosis pain may be described as achy, dull, tightening, throbbing or stabbing.
If your teenager describes pain similar to the pain above and it lasts longer than three months, it should be evaluated.
Early Detection of Endometriosis
Early detection of endometriosis is critical and starts with knowing the first signs.
When symptoms such as pain, heavy or missed periods or fatigue are being shown, it’s important to seek treatment. Delayed treatment can lead to worsening symptom pain, endometrium tissue scaring and even infertility. Unfortunately, women often wait, on average, seven or more years to be diagnosed with endometriosis.
In addition, symptoms are often dismissed or misdiagnosed when consulting doctors. Endometriosis can often be mistaken for other diseases such as IBD, appendicitis or ovarian cysts. Introducing endometriosis into health education for both teenage girls and doctors can help prevent this long wait for diagnosis.
What causes endometriosis?
While the exact cause of endometriosis is unknown, strong evidence suggests that endometriosis is hereditary. Researchers believe you can inherit endometriosis from either the maternal or paternal sides of your family.
There are a few possible causes of endometriosis. They include genetics, abnormal creation of the estrogen hormone and aging. Girls who start their menstrual cycles early or have longer menstrual cycles are also at risk.
It’s important to have a good sense of your family’s medical history and knowing if women in your family have a history of endometriosis is especially important. Girls who have a mother, sister or aunt with endometriosis have a much higher risk of developing it and facing severe symptoms.
I think my teenager has endometriosis, what next?
On average, it can take seeing a doctor 10 times before an actual diagnosis, and women usually aren’t diagnosed until their 20s or 30s.
Don’t let your teenager be another statistic. Educate yourself and your teenager on the symptoms of endometriosis. Education is power and will help you throughout the diagnosis process.
If your teenager is showing symptoms of endometriosis, misdiagnosis may happen at first. Stay persistent and don’t take “no” for an answer. Out of 40,000+ OB-GYNs, there are only 100 endometriosis specialists. Continuing your education will help you find the support you and your teenager need.
There are lifestyle and home remedies that can help alleviate endometriosis pain and symptoms until further treatment can be acquired. These include warm baths, a diet change, pelvic massages and getting extra rest.
The Kaldas Center Can Help
Endometriosis manifests differently in every woman. We personalize treatment depending on the severity of condition and age.
If you think your daughter or a young woman you know may have endometriosis, help them get the diagnosis and treatment they deserve. Skip the unnecessary years of pain and questions. Call the Kaldas Center at 920-886-2299.