March is National Endometriosis Month and Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics is encouraging awareness through education. Suzanne Cooner, CEO of ACMH and Clinics shares that educating the community on the details of various Awareness Days is more than just a nod to the growing number of health issues surrounding our community, it is an opportunity to share information to the people who need it the most, our friends and family.
Did you know that endometriosis is a common reproductive health condition that affects more than 6 ½ million persons in the United States according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services 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. It is most often diagnosed in women in their 30s and 40s, although it can occur in anyone who has a uterus.
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 in the morning. 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.
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics provider, Vivian Chance, ARNP says that while “Endometriosis is not preventable, you can reduce your chances of developing it by lowering the levels of the hormone estrogen in your body. Estrogen helps to thicken the lining of your uterus during your menstrual cycle.
To keep lower estrogen levels in your body, you can:
- Talk to your primary care provider about hormonal birth control methods, such as pills, patches, or rings with lower doses of estrogen.
- Regular exercise and a lower amount of body fat help decrease the amount of estrogen circulating through the body.
- Avoid large amounts of alcohol and caffeine as they both increase estrogen levels.”
Audubon County Memorial Hospital and Clinics have experienced providers that help determine the right treatment for you. 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 — schedule an appointment with your primary care provider.