March 1, 2016 – March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America encourages all women to prioritize their health by scheduling regular checkups. Endometriosis is a common health problem that affects more than five million women in the U.S, causing chronic pain and in some cases infertility. While there is no cure for endometriosis, for some women and teens the condition can be managed with hormonal birth control.
“Endometriosis Awareness Month is an excellent opportunity to schedule an appointment with your health care provider,” said Dr. Vanessa Cullins, vice president of external medical affairs for Planned Parenthood Federation of America. “As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider, advocate, and educator, Planned Parenthood encourages every woman to visit her health care provider regularly and ask any questions she has about birth control, cancer screenings, changes in her body, or testing for STIs, including HIV. Planned Parenthood is an expert on reproductive health care, and can help you manage your endometriosis pain.”
Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. The lining may grow on the bowel, ovaries, lining of the pelvic area, or other places within the body. It is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s, although it can occur after puberty and in anyone who has a uterus, including transgender individuals.
The most common symptom is chronic pain, usually in the pelvic region, right before and during menstrual periods. Pain from endometriosis can range from barely noticeable to severe enough that it prevents people 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.
“If you think you might have endometriosis, you should talk with your health care provider, or visit your local Planned Parenthood health center,” Dr. Cullins added. “Don’t let anxiety keep you from taking care of your health and your body — you can ask family and friends to help make an appointment or go with you, and you’ll feel relieved if you address your problem and get the help you need.”
It’s important to know your body and recognize when you experience any changes. If you notice anything out of the ordinary – lumps, swelling, pain, spotting, or unusual discharge – talk to your health care provider. It might be less serious than you imagine, but you should have it checked out.
“Find a provider you feel comfortable with and be as honest and specific as possible about your symptoms, so she or he can provide you with the best care possible,” Dr. Cullins continued. “The more your health care provider knows about you, the better he or she will be able to help you stay healthy.”
An estimated one in five women has turned to Planned Parenthood at some point in her life for high-quality, nonjudgmental health care. We serve 2.5 million patients annually at our health care centers, and we reach 1.5 million people through our educational programs and outreach. Last year, Planned Parenthood provided 2 million women with family planning counseling and contraception nationwide.
Planned Parenthood is the nation’s leading provider and advocate of high-quality, affordable health care for women, men, and young people, as well as the nation’s largest provider of sex education. With over 650 health centers across the country, Planned Parenthood organizations serve all patients with care and compassion, with respect and without judgment. Through health centers, programs in schools and communities, and online resources, Planned Parenthood is a trusted source of reliable health information that allows people to make informed health decisions. We do all this because we care passionately about helping people lead healthier lives.
Planned Parenthood Federation of America media office: 212-261-4433
March 01, 2016