Cramping, bloating, moody, breast tenderness?

For many reproductive age women, their periods are a dreaded time of month due to symptoms of cramping, bloating, fatigue, mood swings, breast tenderness and acne. While most women do not have any underlying condition contributing to such a lovely constellation of symptoms, others spend many years in agony as their symptoms are dismissed or they believe it is "normal" to be in severe pain for several days out of the month. These women may have an underlying condition such as endometriosis contributing to their pain.

Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that should only be located in the lining of the uterus, implants itself outside of the uterus (commonly in the lining of the pelvis, the muscle of the uterus, the ovary, the intestines) and this tissue responds to the hormones of the menstrual cycle, producing severe pain. The pain can be during the period itself or even at other times during the month, such as ovulation or can even just pop up randomly throughout the month. Endometriosis can also directly or indirectly affect other organ systems so it's not uncommon for women to complain of painful sex as their pelvic floor can be involved; they may be (correctly or incorrectly) diagnosed with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) as their gastrointestinal system can be involved; and because pain conditions can affect the psyche and the psyche can affect pain conditions, some women may experience depression and/or anxiety. Until both the physical and mental symptoms are treated, it is a vicious cycle that the pain makes the emotional symptoms worse and the emotional toll heightens the pain. It is therefore important to address all organ systems involved.

Some studies have shown that from initial presentation to time of diagnosis of endometriosis can be on average of 7 years. This is why it is important to visit with a provider who is not only comfortable and familiar with diagnosing and treating endometriosis but one that will truly listen to your concerns. The pain is real, it is not in your head and there are treatments to help.

Nikole Ostrov MD Online Gynecologist NYNikole Ostrov, MD is a board certified gynecologist and fellow of the American College of ob/gyn. She received her medical degree in Syracuse, NY at SUNY Upstate Medical University and it was here that she fell in love with the field of ob/gyn and even received the "Top Medical Student in Ob/Gyn Award". She went on to do her residency at Stony Brook University Hospital and stayed on an extra year to be their 1st fellow in minimally invasive/robotic gyn surgery. She received many awards during her time here including the "Humanism in Medicine Award", the "Golden Scalpel Award" for surgical skills, the "Resident Research Award" as well as the "Medical Student Teaching Award". After completing her training, Dr. Ostrov practiced in a private practice in Manhattan for almost 10 years where she gained a large patient following and practiced what she loves to do. She has a passion for educating and empowering her patients about their health. She treats every patient how she would want to be treated herself and takes time to really listen to her patients.

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