If you strive to eat right, exercise properly, and get sufficient sleep, you might not expect to experience any problems with your periods. But if you develop severe pain or cramps in your lower back and pelvis before and during your menstruation, you may have endometriosis. Endometriosis can show up in childbearing women as young as 15 years of age and as old as 44 years of age. The condition can interfere with your private, work, and family life over time. Here are more things to know about endometriosis and what you can do to ease your pain.

What's Endometriosis?

As a female, your uterus undergoes many changes each month to prepare you for pregnancy. The uterus develops a special lining that contains blood and other nutrients. But sometimes, the lining of the uterus grows outside the womb or travels to places you might not expect, such as your Fallopian tubes and bowels. It's possible for uterine tissues to spread to and grow in the brain and lungs.

The abnormal tissue can turn into cysts and create intense pain in the places they grow. Endometrial tissue can also interfere with your bodily functions. For instance, you might have problems urinating if endometriosis occurs in your bladder. You may also have problems conceiving or engaging in sexual activity if endometrial tissue grows in your vagina. 

Internal bleeding may occur if the abnormal tissue sheds during your periods. Some women can cough up blood or experience other unsettling symptoms when they have endometriosis.  

If you experience any of the problems above, see an obstetrician or gynecologist now.

How Do You Treat Endometriosis?

Treatment for endometriosis can vary from women to women. However, pain medication is generally a common treatment prescribed by obstetricians and gynecologists. If you plan to become pregnant in the future, a doctor may use hormone treatments to increase your chances of conceiving. 

Laparoscopy is another treatment option you may have if your endometriosis becomes worse or interferes with your bowel and bladder functions. Some specialists use medications to shrink large or painful cysts. Because endometriosis is a lifelong problem, you may need to see a specialist regularly to ensure that the growths don't enlarge or interfere with your body's functions.

If you see blood in your mucus when you cough or spit up, tell a doctor right away. You may need additional exams to locate and treat your condition.

If you'd like to learn more about endometriosis, contact a women's doctor at a place like Desert Rose OBGYN PC today.