Your monthly period hurts. Period.
That’s the message teenage girls often hear. “A lot of times, that is a very normal part of those early periods,” said Dr. Erin Latif, an OB/GYN at Augusta University Health.
And a lot of times, that’s why teen girls don’t talk about when their periods really, really hurt—when the next month feels even worse, when pain medicine doesn’t help, and when it hurts so bad all they can do is curl up and cry.
That’s not normal—and it could mean your teenager has endometriosis.
What Exactly Is Endometriosis?
“Endometriosis is not super common in teens, but it’s actually more common than people realize,” said Latif. “It can even be diagnosed before onset of puberty, but that’s rare.”
Every month, a girl or woman’s uterus grows a special lining, and an egg is released from the ovaries into the uterus. If the egg isn’t fertilized, the lining breaks down, becoming your period.
With endometriosis, the cells that make that lining spread outside of the uterus, inside your abdominal cavity. When hormones trigger those cells every month, they grow, including on your ovaries, bowel and bladder. All of that abnormal growth can lead to cysts and masses—and cause a lot of pain, usually during but also when you’re not having your period.
Any teenager with pain during periods that seems to get worse over time and doesn’t feel better with pain medicine should see a gynecologist, says Latif. Other possible symptoms include pain when you use the bathroom as well as blood in the urine or stool. Endometriosis doesn’t necessarily cause heavy periods, but women with endometriosis do tend to have heavier cycles that soak through multiple pads or tampons over several days.
Will I Need a Pelvic Exam?
Youthful teenagers may decide to endure the agony and not tell a specialist since they’re terrified that they will require a pelvic test. “One thing I like to pressure is that a pelvic test is extremely only here and there required during a first visit to a gynecologist,” said Latif. “We maintain a strategic distance from pelvic tests however much as could be expected with more youthful young ladies.”
Much of the time, young ladies can converse with their pediatrician about their torment, and the person may endorse NSAIDs like ibuprofen to lighten the agony, alongside hormone treatment, for example, anti-conception medication, which can slow the movement of endometriosis. It’s ideal to begin taking NSAIDs daily or two preceding the period should begin and keep taking them all through the heaviest and most excruciating days of the period, while anti-conception medication can be as a day by day pill or an infusion at regular intervals.
For increasingly serious torment, it’s a smart thought to see a gynecologist, who can offer different medications and answer more inquiries regarding hormone treatment and what precisely is going on with a young lady’s body.
A gynecologist can likewise ensure nothing else is going on that could be causing the agony, for example, a flawless hymen, which could cause month to month torment and keep periods from happening regularly.
In the event that a young lady is as yet having a great deal of torment following three months of attempting NSAIDs and hormone treatment, the subsequent stage is think about medical procedure, says Latif. “We commonly do a laparoscopy to search for endometriosis and evacuate as a significant part of the endometriosis as we can.”
In any case, it’s a deep rooted issue. Medical procedure will improve the torment by expelling the endometriosis sores, however patients should remain on hormonal concealment after medical procedure. And still, at the end of the day, 56% of ladies state that their endometriosis has returned following five years.
Having a Baby Down the Road
A youthful high schooler who’s 12 or 13 probably won’t get some information about richness, yet more established youngsters who are as of now contemplating marriage and family not far off might stress: How will this effect on the off chance that I can have an infant?
“That is the large concern,” said Latif. “The explanation early acknowledgment of endometriosis is so significant is so we don’t let it develop crazy for a considerable length of time, which can cause broad scarring of the fallopian cylinders and harm the ovaries. Regardless of whether there’s not a great deal of scarring, the aggravation from endometriosis can make it hard for patients with this ailment to get pregnant. The best activity is to converse with your gynecologist once you’re prepared to begin attempting to have an infant.”
For adolescents particularly however for any lady with endometriosis, “Don’t pause,” said Latif. “We have great medicines today to help bring alleviation from torment and furthermore ensure your richness once you are prepared to begin a family.”