Endometriosis in Teens

Pelvic pain in women, including teenage girls, is common. Up to five percent of gynecologist visits are from adolescents experiencing pelvic pain. The pain should be considered concerning when it’s severe and begins 1-2 weeks prior to the menstrual cycle. This could be a sign of a medical condition called endometriosis.

Endometriosis occurs when menstrual tissue forms outside of the uterus within the pelvis. The condition can develop in different ways, but there are increased risks for girls whose mothers, aunts or sisters have endometriosis. There’s also an increased risk for those who start their menstrual cycle at an early age. Not only does the pain from endometriosis last for weeks, but it expands beyond the pelvis and can cause throbbing pain in the lower back and even down the legs.

While there’s not a cure for endometriosis, symptoms can be reduced with medication and in some severe cases, surgery. Birth control containing estrogen and progesterone have been known to help relieve many patients of severe pain. Talk to your pediatric provider about the best treatment plan.

Many parents are unaware that adolescents can develop endometriosis, so it’s more likely to go undiagnosed. If your teen is experiencing what seems to be abnormal pain around her menstrual cycle, talk to your pediatric provider immediately. When endometriosis goes untreated it can lead to a number of long term issues including inability to have children and increased risk of ovarian cancer.