Endometriosis is a common disorder that 1 in 10 women will be diagnosed with. However it is thought this number is actually far higher, with many being misdiagnosed with other conditions. The problem occurs when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (called endometrium) is found outside the womb, causing intense pain, bowel problems and heavy periods.
Any woman from the age of their first period can suffer with endometriosis, and it has varying levels of severity.
According to [Endometriosis New Zealand], the symptoms include:
•bowel problems like bloating, diarrhoea, constipation, pain with bowel movements, painful wind (sometimes diagnosed as Irritable Bowel Syndrome)
•painful intercourse (dyspareunia)
•sub-fertility or infertility
•tiredness and low energy
•pain in other places such as the lower back
•pain at other times e.g. with ovulation or intermittently throughout the month
•premenstrual syndrome (PMS). This might make you feel moody, emotional or irritable
•abnormal menstrual bleeding
•bladder troubles like interstitial cystitis (IC)
Endometriosis New Zealand have some tips on how to manage your condition day to day, suggesting the magic trio of a good diet, exercise and plenty of sleep.
The treatment for endometriosis depends on how old you are, how severe it is and whether you plan on having children later down the line.
• Massage – especially shiatsu
• Chinese herbal medicine
Magnesium is also tipped as being a natural painkiller and many sufferers take supplements to ease their symptoms.
See your doctor. The only way to officially determine if you have endometriosis is through keyhole surgery, but your doctor will be able to assess how likely it is that this is what you're suffering from. They may well refer you to a gynaecologist, or if you have private medical insurance you could go directly to them for a consultation.