Periods.  All of us ladies get them, but few want to talk about them.  The stigma surrounding that time of the month makes it difficult to even mention the word period. Those with endometriosis, which causes painful periods, often wait to get the care and attention they need because they don’t want to talk about it. When they do finally seek care, the pain is often attributed to normal period symptoms or other less serious conditions.

Statistics have shown that it actually takes an astounding 7 and a half years on average to diagnose endometriosis. That’s around 90 periods before proper treatment even begins!

Being open about periods and being comfortable talking with other women and our physicians, can help determine whether our periods are normal or whether there is something more significant going on.

Here’s the scoop on endometriosis.

Endometriosis is a condition where the endometrium, or lining of the uterus, migrates outside the womb (a place where it shouldn’t be). This, in turn, causes inflammation which responds to the fluctuations of a woman’s monthly period causing abnormal pain which can be severe.

Although periods often cause discomfort and cramping, significant pain that affects your ability to go to work or school or perform daily activities may be a sign that you need to speak with your healthcare provider

Other symptoms to note are excessive bleeding, pain during intercourse or during bowel movements and urination, as well as infertility – symptoms you don’t want to ignore!

So, ladies – without openly talking about our periods, it can be hard to tell what’s normal and what isn’t. If you are feeling like something may not be right, talk to your friends and see a doctor. You know your body better than anyone else, so a second opinion may also be something you explore if you don’t feel quite right with the answer from your doctor.

Bottom line: your period should be your friend, not your enemy. Talk about it and don’t be ashamed.

There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but local physicians are dedicated to helping find new options. If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with endometriosis or suspect you may have it, find out how to get involved in a clinical study today. Click here to learn more.