Tame the pain of endometriosis

If a woman has endometriosis, some of the tissue that normally grows inside of her uterus grows, instead, where it should not. “When a woman has endometriosis, endometrial tissue is outside of the uterus and causes severe pain during menstruation,” says Lisa Perriera, MD, MPH, a gynecologist at University Hospitals MacDonald Women’s Hospital. “These growths typically occur in the ovaries, fallopian tubes and other pelvic areas.”

Endometriosis is estimated to affect 2 to 10 percent of women during their childbearing years. Some women only learn they have this condition when they unsuccessfully try to have a baby.

The most common sign: Pain

“When a woman with endometriosis has her period, the misplaced tissue can swell and bleed, triggering pain in the pelvis, or lower abdomen,” Dr. Perriera says.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Low back pain
  • Pain during intercourse
  • Pain when urinating or during bowel movements

Beat the discomfort

Dr. Perriera recommends the following approaches to help ease the pain:

  • Try an over-the-counter medicine such as naproxen or ibuprofen.
  • Exercise may help ease cramps and low back pain. Try some slow stretches to relax muscles.
  • Dip into a warm bath to soothe the pain from cramps.
  • Try to avoid too much stress, which can increase pain.

Expert, individualized care for women

To schedule an appointment with an OB/GYN at UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital, call 1-866-UH4-CARE (844-2273). Or request an appointment online at UHhospitals.org/macwomen.

Lisa Perriera

Lisa Perriera, MD, MPH
UH MacDonald Women’s Hospital
Assistant Professor,
Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine

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