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Should I talk to my doctor about my endometriosis symptoms?

You should see your doctor if you experience any of the following symptoms of endometriosis:

  • a change in your menstrual cycle—suddenly your cycle is going on for a longer duration of time or the interval between cycles is shortened
  • more pain during your cycle, just before your cycle
  • onset of pain with intercourse or with bowel movements

As women we talk to our friends and talk to our family members. A lot of times we assess our own symptoms in relation to other women or to what we think the norm is. The time of the well woman exam is a good opportunity to talk to your doctor about how your cycles are. Have a discussion with your doctor about the symptoms you have during your cycles.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms associated with endometriosis, you should speak with your doctor right away. Additionally, if you have a family history of endometriosis, you should make an appointment to discuss your chances of developing the condition. With time, endometriosis can cause permanent damage to your reproductive system so it is best to speak with your doctor promptly. As with any appointment, be sure to discuss with your doctor the causes, symptoms, treatments, and complications associated with endometriosis.

If you are experiencing endometriosis symptoms, the starting point is talking to your doctor or other health care professional. Getting a diagnosis can be difficult. Women with endometriosis can suffer for six to 10 years before proper diagnosis.

Before your appointment, arm yourself with knowledge. Gather your medical records and write down your symptoms. Log how much pain you experience on an average day and how often, if there's a time of day when symptoms are worse or better, if specific activities worsen or relieve the pain, or if the pain comes and goes.

Don't downplay your symptoms or be afraid to ask questions. It can also be helpful to find a doctor who has experience treating endometriosis. He or she may recommend having a laparoscopy to remove a small sample of tissue for testing, known as biopsy, to confirm your diagnosis.

This content originally appeared on HealthyWomen.org.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.