A cross-sectional study published in the November, 2010, issue of Fertility and Sterility reports that very painful menstrual periods during the teen years (that is, period pain so severe that girls miss school) may be predictive of an increased risk of developing deep infiltrating endometriosis (DIE), the most extensive form of endometriosis.
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.
Although these findings may help women receive a diagnosis of endometriosis sooner,* it is unclear whether progression to DIE (what an unfortunate acronym!) can be prevented. And there is no real cure for endometriosis.
*As we reported previously in writing about Kate Seear’s research about the diagnostic delay in treating endometriosis, the delay is non-trivial: research estimates an average delay of 8 years in the UK and 11 years in the US.