Feature Archive

When Your Period Signals a Problem

Pain, bleeding, and missed periods may be signs that something is wrong.

By Dulce Zamora
WebMD Feature

Reviewed By Brunilda Nazario

In her 20s, Theresa Lauigan experienced heavy bleeding and painful cramping during her menstrual cycle. Her doctor told her she had fibroids, noncancerous growths in her uterus, and termed it a "wait and see" situation. A few years later, when the menstrual pain became unbearable, Theresa pressed her doctor to further investigate the matter.

Turns out, she has endometriosis -- a gynecological condition in which the lining of the uterus, which is usually shed monthly, is present outside of the uterus. The condition is associated with chronic pelvic pain and can be associated with infertility.

Theresa has had two surgeries to take care of the problem.

Theresa's menstrual pain is now more manageable, but wishes the endometriosis was found earlier. Because of complications that developed, doctors say her ability to have children is impaired. Her best bet for pregnancy is in vitro fertilization within the next few years.

"If the endometriosis was found earlier, I might have planned my life better," says the 33-year-old, who urges women with severe menstrual problems to speak up. "If a woman feels like something is really going on (with her body), she should really push her doctor more on it."

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