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Symptoms in Teen Years May Foretell Severe Endometriosis
In some teenage girls, very painful menstrual periods that interfere with daily life may signal an increased risk of developing the most extensive form of endometriosis, a preliminary study suggests.
In a study of 229 women undergoing surgery for endometriosis, French researchers found that those with the most extensive form -- known as deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE) -- were more likely to have had particularly painful periods as teenagers.
As a group, they were four times as likely as women with non-DIE endometriosis to have used birth control pills to treat severe menstrual pain before the age of 18. And they were 70 percent more likely to say they'd missed school days because of menstrual symptoms.
The findings, published in the journal Fertility and Sterility, suggest that such problems in adolescence can sometimes predict a later diagnosis of DIE.
In endometriosis, pieces of the tissue that lines the uterus (the endometrium) also grow outside the organ -- often on the ovaries, the fallopian tubes or elsewhere in the pelvis. Like the endometrium, this misplaced tissue changes with each menstrual cycle, thickening and then breaking down and bleeding.