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Millions of women and young girls all over the world suffer from endometriosis. The name comes from the term "endometrium" which is the tissue that lines the inside of the uterus. This tissue builds up and sheds each month during the menstrual cycle. In endometriosis, this same tissue is found outside of the uterus in other areas of the body. In those locations, the endometrial tissue develops into what are called "growths" or "implants."

Endometrial growths are generally considered to be normal tissue outside of the normal location. These growths usually respond to the hormones of the menstrual cycle. They build up tissue each month, break down and cause bleeding. Because this tissue is located outside of its normal location, it has no way to leave the body. This causes internal bleeding and moderate to severe pain.

Many times the pain begins in the early teens. This is a confusing time for a young girl because she doesn't quite know what to expect from the onset of menstruation. When menstruation begins and it is accompanied by pain, a young girl may think this is normal. If you are suffering monthly from heavy or irregular bleeding, or if your cramps are severe and/or frequent, you have an irregular flow, nausea, diarrhea, stomach problems or yeast infections, it may be the sign of endometriosis.

If you are experiencing any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms, there are several things you should do.

1. Talk to you mother, father, school nurse, guidance counselor, or any other adult that you feel you can trust. Tell them about the pain you are experiencing.

2. Ask someone to help you make an appointment with your doctor.

3. Go to the library and get some books on endometriosis so you can educate yourself. Don't be surprised if there are not many books on the subject. You may have to go to your local public library to do further research.

4. Log on to the internet. Try to find other girls your age who have had the same problems and ask them how they dealt with it and what they experienced when they visited the doctor. Connecting with others will help you to feel more comfortable about the subject and will help you to understand that you are not alone.

5. When you go to the doctor, make sure you explain in detail what is happening to you every month. Mention that you think you may have endometriosis. The doctor needs to know everything you are experiencing so he or she can make the diagnosis and properly treat you.

6. Do not panic. There are many treatment options for endometriosis and the first will be pain management. Don't be surprised if the doctor wants to put you on birth control pills to help regulate your cycle. Birth control pills often help with the pain also.

There is no simple cure for endometriosis, but there are many treatments and self-help approaches that can help to get you feeling better. The doctor may have you take some medications that you can get without a prescription such as advil, midol or aleve for the pain. If for some reason these are not helping, make sure you tell the doctor so he or she can try other medications.

Make sure you keep the doctor informed about your situation. If you experience any changes make sure he or she knows about them. Don't be afraid to talk openly with your doctor. Doctors need to know how you are feeling so they can treat you accordingly. Make follow up visits and keep in touch with the doctor.

If for some reason you don't feel comfortable with the doctor you are seeing and you feel that you are not being helped, do not be afraid to make another appointment with someone else. This will also be to your benefit because you can get a second opinion.

Whatever you do, do not ignore the signs of possible endometriosis. If you ignore the problems, it can cause more pain and possible infertility. Most of all, if left untreated, it will significantly interfere with the quality of your life. Good luck!!!