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March is Endometriosis Awareness Month, and Planned Parenthood encourages everyone to prioritize their health by scheduling regular checkups.

Endometriosis is a common reproductive health condition that affects more than 5 million people in the U.S and can cause chronic pain, and in some cases, infertility. Endometriosis occurs when tissue from the lining inside 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.

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 to prevent you from getting out of bed. Other symptoms can include intestinal pain, spotting or bleeding between periods, pain during sex, and, in some cases, infertility. For many people who have endometriosis, birth control or other medicines can help manage chronic pain.

If you think you might have endometriosis, we encourage you to talk with your health care provider or make an appointment with Planned Parenthood. As a leading reproductive health care provider, advocate, and educator, Planned Parenthood can help you get evaluated for endometriosis and manage your symptoms.