While most women take their periods for granted and don't think about them much, beyond a bit of cramping and PMS, others deal with very painful periods. Some women report that their periods are incredibly heavy, never on a predictable schedule, and uncomfortable. What could this be?
Understanding Painful Periods
In young women, painful periods are usually quite harmless. However, the one condition that could be dangerous, and that might be indicated with painful periods, is endometriosis. Endometriosis is when normal menstrual tissue is found in abnormal locations. This condition, at times, can cause infertility and a great deal of discomfort.
In order to have a diagnosis of endometriosis, a woman has to have an exam done with a laparoscope or have surgery with an incision. While it's possible for a biopsy to confirm endometriosis, it is usually only confirmed through visual inspection. If a doctor tells you that you have endometriosis just by giving an external physical exam or by taking your history - don't believe them!
So, Now What?
Some women will decide not to have the minor surgery done that can diagnose the endometriosis, since it is a surgery. She selects to just live with the painful periods instead. However, if she passes on the surgery and actually does have endometriosis, she might be putting her fertility in jeopardy. There is no easy answer here. It is probably in her interest to have the procedure done. If she ends up not to have endometriosis, she can have her heavy periods continue in peace. And it may be possible to give her something to help correct the issue. If she does, indeed, have endometriosis, then it was a good thing to have it discovered. She can now have treatment for it.
Making the Decision
Any woman of childbearing years will need to make this decision for herself. Certainly, it's always nerve racking to have an issue with your body and not know what is causing it. It's also difficult to go through a surgery, especially if it is only to rule out the problem. However, the surgery that is done to check for endometriosis today is quite easy and most patients report that it was worthwhile. Painful periods in women of childbearing years should not be ignored - as they are generally a sign that something is wrong. And the peace of mind that you have after the procedure will, hopefully, make it worth while. By doing your research and speaking candidly with your doctor, you can make the right decision for yourself.