March 2, 2015 – March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and Planned Parenthood Federation of America encourages all women to protect their health by practicing body self-awareness and scheduling regular checkups. Endometriosis is a common health problem affecting more than five million women in the U.S. and is a leading cause of infertility. Mild to moderately painful endometriosis can be managed effectively in many women with hormonal birth control.
“Planned Parenthood provides affordable, quality reproductive health care, and can help you manage your endometriosis pain,” said Dr. 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 to ask any questions she has about changes in her body, birth control, cancer screenings, or testing for STIs, including HIV. Preventive health care is the name of the game. So, whether you have endometriosis or not, pain or not, well-woman visits are recommended. Endometriosis Awareness Month is another flag for regular health care provider visits.”
Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the lining of the uterus (the endometrium) grows outside of the uterus. Some women with endometriosis have no symptoms. However, the condition can cause chronic pain, and in some cases, infertility. Other symptoms can include intestinal pain, spotting or bleeding between periods, and pain during sex. While it may be suspected in teens and young adults who have painful periods, it’s most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s. Endometriosis can occur in anyone who has a uterus, including transgender individuals. In many people, the condition can be managed with hormonal birth control, which treats the chronic pain of endometriosis. If hormonal birth control doesn’t work, there are stronger medications and surgical options available.
“Many women experience some discomfort during their menstrual cycle, but for some women, the pain prevents them from functioning at work, school, or in the home,” Dr. Cullins added. “As women, we often don’t make taking care of ourselves a priority. Being aware of our bodies is important at every age: if something doesn’t feel normal or you notice changes in your body, make an appointment to get checked out right away. Find a provider you feel comfortable with and be as honest and specific as possible about your symptoms so they can provide you with the best care possible. The more your health care provider knows about you, the better they’re able to help you stay healthy.”
Diagnosing endometriosis may require a surgical biopsy that is commonly obtained through a minimally invasive procedure called a laparoscopy. Like most primary care physicians, Planned Parenthood health center doctors and nurses work to connect patients who are experiencing symptoms of endometriosis with outside specialists.
As the nation’s leading women’s health care provider and advocate, Planned Parenthood health centers see more than two million patients for preventive health care like birth control every year. For more information, visit PlannedParenthood.org.
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 more than 700 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 03, 2015