Endometriosis is a painful condition that affects a large percentage of Black women. In this disorder, the tissue that’s supposed to only be found in the endometriosis spreads to other parts of the body like the pelvis and fallopian tubes. Since this tissue responds to changes in the menstrual cycle, it will still swell and bleed monthly. These changes result in pain and irritation of varying severity. To properly cope with this new diagnosis, you’ll need to bear a few things in mind.
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1. There Are Different Stages
Being diagnosed is only the beginning of your journey. Your doctor may need to carry out further tests to determine the stage of your endometriosis.
In Stage 1, the symptoms are mild with no scarring.
Stages 2 and 3 have mild to moderate symptoms with the presence of deeply implanted tissue as well as some scar tissue. At the fourth stage, there will likely be severe symptoms accompanied by deeply implanted tissue and thick adhesions.
2. Your Treatment May Vary
As you might expect, different stages will require varying treatments. However, the options typically include hormonal contraceptives to alleviate bleeding and pain, gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) agonists to regulate the menstrual cycle, as well as painkillers.
3. Pain Management Will Be Key
Depending on the severity of your pain, the doctor might prescribe painkillers or recommend trying some over-the-counter ones. Using hot water bottles on your stomach while experiencing pain can also make a difference.
4. Your Symptoms Might Not Always Be The Same
While each stage of endometriosis comes with differing symptoms, it doesn’t mean that you’ll feel the same every day. As your body goes through its hormonal cycle, there may be changes in your pain level and discomfort. Symptoms might also worsen over time or as the condition progresses from one stage to the other. It’s also important to note that the symptoms won’t be confined to when you’re menstruating.
5. Alternative Treatments Are An Option
As you’re following your doctor’s prescribed treatment regimen, it’s a good idea to discuss alternative options that can help. For example,