Endometriosis in Teens: What You Need to Know

If your teen struggles with painful, heavy periods, she could be like at least 1 in 10 women in the United States who struggle with endometriosis. 

Endometriosis causes the lining of your uterus (the endometrium) to grow in tissues other than the uterus, causing severe cramping, heavy bleeding, abnormal bleeding and spotting, clotting, and digestive trouble.

At Kelly Morales, OB/GYN in San Antonio, Texas, Dr. Morales and our compassionate care team specialize in offering compassionate care for adolescents. Working with an understanding OB/GYN offers your teen the help she needs for getting a diagnosis and treatment for conditions like endometriosis. 

While endometriosis in the teen years is similar to endometriosis in women, adolescents have unique concerns, as their bodies are still growing. Take a moment to learn what you need to know about endometriosis in teenage girls. 

Endometriosis overview

Because endometriosis causes the endometrial tissue that lines your uterus to grow outside the uterus, it can cause significant pain. That’s because when you get your period each month, this misplaced tissue still thickens and tries to break down the way it normally would if it were in your uterus. 

Since it can’t leave your body as it does when you get your period, this misplaced endometrial tissue causes inflammation and irritation. Over time, scar tissue (called adhesions) forms. In some women, endometriosis and the scar tissue it causes can lead to problems with fertility.

Common symptoms of endometriosis include:

Many women aren’t diagnosed with endometriosis until they try to conceive and find getting pregnant difficult. 

Teen endometriosis

Many women diagnosed with endometriosis report that their symptoms started in their teen years, before age 15. But since endometriosis shares some symptoms with normal periods, it’s often difficult for teens to know when something is wrong. 

Cramps and discomfort are normal for the first day or two of your period. Over-the-counter painkillers should help you get through your day. 

It’s time to consult an adolescent GYN specialist like Dr. Morales when the pain your teen experiences:

In other words, when the pain is severe and interferes with life, a gynecologic visit is warranted.

Risk factors for teens

Some factors put certain teens at higher risk of developing endometriosis. Knowing these factors, along with the symptoms of endometriosis, can help you get your teen diagnosed sooner so that effective treatment can begin. 

While scientists are still researching how and why women develop endometriosis, there is sound evidence that it runs in families. In other words, if your teen’s mother, aunt, or sister has endometriosis, she also has a higher chance of developing the condition. 

In addition, current research studies show girls who started their periods at a very young age, who have a low body mass index, or who have an autoimmune disease are at higher risk of having endometriosis. 

Diagnosing teen endometriosis

Unfortunately, there isn’t a specific test Dr. Morales can give your teen to check for endometriosis. Diagnosing this disease involves reviewing your teen’s symptoms and medical history and noting how your teen’s symptoms respond to prescription-strength anti-inflammatory medicine. 

Dr. Morales may complete a physical exam, however physical exams don’t offer proof of endometriosis. Sometimes it’s helpful to keep a pain diary or record of your symptoms, including:

The only way to know for sure if your teen has endometriosis is a laparoscopy, a minimally invasive surgical procedure that allows Dr. Morales to diagnose the condition and its severity, and sometimes remove some scar tissue. 

Treating teen endometriosis

There is no cure for endometriosis. However, Dr. Morales works with you and your teen to help manage symptoms and preserve your daughter’s future fertility. Each patient’s treatment plan is customized based on individual symptoms and needs. 

Most of the time, however, if prescription anti-inflammatories don’t work, Dr. Morales recommends trying hormonal birth control, like the birth control pill or an IUD, to prevent ovulation. When your teen doesn’t ovulate, the scar tissue doesn’t build up. 

Other treatment recommendations may include:

If you’re concerned about teen endometriosis, contact our office in San Antonio, Texas, by calling 210-570-7277.

You Might Also Enjoy...

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Vaginal Childbirth

All babies enter the world through a vaginal birth or surgical delivery. Both methods share the same goal: a healthy baby and mother. So why choose to have vaginal childbirth? Here we look at the benefits and risks of this type of delivery.

Menstrual Problems in Teens: When to See a Doctor

Most girls experience irregular cycles when they first get their periods, but some teens go on to have significant menstrual problems. The challenge is knowing what’s normal and when it’s time to seek help. Keep reading to find out.

Five Common Signs of Endometriosis

If you’re suffering from heavy or painful periods and wonder if endometriosis might be the cause, you’re on the right track. Learn more about the signs of endometriosis, a condition that impacts about 10% of women.

When Do Menopause Symptoms Start?

Confused about when menopause symptoms begin and what to look for? Here’s what you need to know about the perimenopausal and menopausal symptoms some women experience — and when they occur.

How to Decide on the Best Contraception for You

Feeling overwhelmed by the many types of birth control available? If you’re struggling with which form of contraception is right for you, take a look at these key questions that will guide you to the best contraceptive for your lifestyle.

Five Interesting Facts About da Vinci Robotic Surgery

If you need surgery to treat a gynecological condition, the da Vinci robot-assisted surgery system offers many benefits over conventional surgery options. Take a moment to learn about this amazing technology and its benefits.