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Did you know that endometriosis symptoms are more than just heavy and painful periods?
If you have endo, you probably do.
While an official diagnosis of endometriosis is based on a laparoscopic (surgical) procedure, some cases are approached based on the combination of symptoms. Most women with endometriosis experience painful periods, pain throughout their cycle, and heavy bleeding.
But many women also have symptoms amongst their digestive system and bowel movements. Bloating, bowel pain, and bleeding with bowel movements during your period may indicate endometriosis is present.
Of course, these digestive symptoms could have a number of causes, but if there is a clear pattern where they coincide with your period, it is worth discussing this timing with your healthcare practitioner.
Endometriosis is when tissue similar to the lining of the uterus (endometrium) begins to grow outside of the uterus. It can grow in many places in the body, but most often grows on organs near the uterus or on the outside of the uterus itself. The lower large intestine (bowel) is a common place for endo to show up.
Depending on the severity, endo can cause bowel pain consistently, intermittently, or just around the period.
Having a full holistic picture of each of my patients and how their bodies are functioning is the driving factor for their treatments. Regardless of what method of treatment you pursue for your health needs, being fully aware of your body and symptoms is incredibly helpful.
If you have suspected health concerns but aren’t sure how your symptoms might be related, I recommend keeping a journal to track symptoms and timing so you and your healthcare prac can unravel the mystery together and get you the most appropriate care possible.
Dr. Sarah Hennessey (TCM) is a registered acupuncturist and herbalist. She has worked in women’s health for the past 8 years. Her background is in Western health science and traditional Chinese medicine. She lives in Melbourne, Australia where she runs her own clinic, South East Natural Health. When she’s not helping women sort out their health concerns, she enjoys making memories with her 3-year-old daughter.