You’ve probably heard it mentioned, but what exactly is endometriosis?
What causes endometriosis?
Genetics and certain toxins in the environment  are possible causes of endometriosis. There are also issues that put you at a greater risk, like a history of pelvic infection or something known as retrograde menstruation. That’s a condition where your period blood starts going ‘backwards’ – rather than out of the vagina, it flows back through the fallopian tubes and into the pelvic cavity. This blood contains endometrial cells, which then stick to the pelvic walls and to other organs, where they continue to thicken and bleed during each menstrual cycle.
The signs and symptoms of endometriosis
The signs and symptoms of endometriosis are varied – some women might be badly affected, while others might have very few noticeable symptoms, or none at all!  The symptoms range from extreme tiredness and frequent thrush infections to infertility.
Your period and endometriosis
Another symptom of endometriosis is pain. It might be pain in your lower tummy or back that gets worse during your period, during or after having sexual relation with your husband, intense period pain that stops you from doing your normal daily activities, when peeing or pooping during your period. You may even feel sick, or experience constipation, diarrhea or blood in your pee during your period. These can all be scary things to notice, but it’s just your body letting you know that something is going on that needs your attention.
It drove me crazy. I wondered how it was possible to be so sick all the time, all these symptoms happening at once.
How is endometriosis treated?
Although endometriosis is a chronic condition (which means it persists for a long time) there are ways to manage it. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories, like ibuprofen, are often used to manage pain. The combined contraceptive pill can help too, by stopping eggs from being released, making periods lighter and less painful .
In terms of surgical treatments, key-hole surgery may improve symptoms and fertility , while some women may eventually decide to have a hysterectomy, which means removing the womb 
Getting an endometriosis diagnosis
Endometriosis can come with many different symptoms and take years to diagnose – the average is 7.5(!)  Some women with endometriosis suffer with a variety of symptoms that can be difficult to manage, and get in the way of living their lives to the fullest. That’s why for some, a diagnosis can actually be a source of relief. As one woman put it, “I finally had a name for my pain. A name for the debilitating cramps that came every single month.”
The only way to fully diagnose endometriosis is through a key-hole camera investigation of your pelvic area. But before this point, you may have external examinations, internal examinations, scans and blood tests – or a combination.