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Endometriosis: Frequently Asked Questions

Thursday, March 22, 2012 - 11:57

Here are some frequently asked questions related to endometriosis.

Q: I have endometriosis. Could my daughters inherit it?

A: Endometriosis does appear to run in families, and your daughters might inherit the tendency to develop it. This would put them at higher-than-average risk for the disorder.

Q: How can you tell the difference between normal menstrual pain and pain from endometriosis?

A: This sometimes is not easy. Generally, though, normal menstrual pain starts at the beginning of the flow and lasts one or two days. Pelvic pain from endometriosis tends to occur before the flow starts and may last several days.

Q: How can a physician tell the difference between such gastrointestinal disorders as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and endometriosis that may affect the bowel?

A: Again, the difference between the symptoms caused by these two conditions may be difficult to discern. Pain from IBS usually follows along the tract of the large intestine, and also may be accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, and gas and bloating. If the pain occurs with an obvious trigger, like eating, it is more likely IBS; if it occurs during the time of menstruation, endometriosis is a more likely diagnosis.

Q: I'm in my early 30s and I want to have children. Since I have endometriosis, my doctor has advised me to have children sooner, rather than later. Why?

A: Endometriosis is a progressive disorders. Since it is associated with infertility, and infertility increases generally after the age of 35, most doctors advice women with endometriosis to try and get pregnant before that age.

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