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  • Writer's pictureLiza Klassen

Is it "Just" Period Pain?

How to figure out when cramps aren't just cramps.

March is Endometriosis Awareness Month. This is a disorder that deserves a month of awareness and education. WHY?

1. It impacts 10–15% of women of reproductive age and 35–50% of women with pelvic pain and/or infertility

2. It takes on average ~10 years to diagnosis (anywhere from 4-12 years)

3. Endometriosis causes a significant impact on quality of life and daily function, studies report an average of 10-20 missed work days per year

What is it?

Endometriosis is a painful gynecological disorder that involves endometrial tissue that is growing outside of the uterine cavity (extrauterine satellite lesions). These satellite lesions are sensitive to hormone fluctuations (particularly estrogen) and grow and bleed in sync with the menstrual cycle (typically around ovulation and menstruation).

Common Symptoms include:

  • cyclic pelvic pain/cramping (dysmenorrhea)

  • chronic pelvic pain (ex. pelvic pain all cycle long)

  • painful penetrative intercourse (dyspareunia)

  • painful urination (dysuria)

  • painful bowel movements (dyschezia)

  • infertility

  • fatigue

  • heavy menstrual bleeding

  • inter-menstrual bleeding


Laparoscopy is still considered the gold standard of diagnosis (lack of availability can delay the time to diagnosis). Diagnostic ultrasound and MRI are entering the scene as less invasive and accurate measures for the diagnosis of endometriosis (but again aren't readily available). There are markers (like CA-125 and non-specific inflammatory markers) that can be tested in the blood that can help rule in/out the probability of having endometriosis but are not diagnostic.

There is Hope.

In practice, I use clinical signs and symptoms to help guide treatment and help my patients advocate for the necessary investigations to reduce the time to diagnosis. In the meantime, we address the symptomatic experience with a combination of lifestyle, nutrition, supplementation and acupuncture.

If you're concerned your cramps are more than just 'cramps', I have just the thing for you. I'm offering complimentary consults for the first 2 weeks of March to help you understand the next best step on your hormonal health journey. Book your call now 👇🏼

In health & wellbeing,

Dr. Liza, xx

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