By Monique Regard, MD / Adolescent Gynecology
Endometriosis can affect women from their first menses through menopause. It is especially common among women in their 30s and 40s, but can become symptomatic in the teenage years. It is a disorder that occurs when the menstrual tissue lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. It typically causes pelvic pain when it presents in teenagers, and the growths are most commonly found on the pelvic floor lining of younger patients.
Women who have a female relative with endometriosis are at increased risk for developing the disorder. Additionally, girls who start their menstrual cycles at a younger age or have longer menstrual cycles, are more prone to developing endometriosis.
In teenagers, endometriosis symptoms include:
Endometriosis is often diagnosed in teenagers if menstrual pain continues after treatment with prescription strength nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) and hormonal birth control pills. Laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgery, can be performed to determine diagnosis.
Certain hormonal birth control options containing progesterone can help alleviate symptoms of endometriosis, specifically an IUD or intrauterine device.
Benefits of IUD use to treat endometriosis symptoms include:
The downside of IUD use to treat endometriosis includes:
If laparoscopic surgery is required to treat endometriosis, an IUD may be inserted during surgery.
Adolescent gynecologists treat a variety of medical conditions affecting newborns to patients in their early to mid-20s including endometriosis, congenital or acquired genital abnormalities, early or delayed puberty or sexual development, polycystic ovary syndrome, painful periods and heavy bleeding. Speak with your provider if you suspect you may be suffering from endometriosis. Early diagnosis can help manage symptoms.