What's your worst experience with menstrual cramps

Gynecology: When menstrual pain becomes unbearable

It started with pain in the lower abdomen. Pulling cramps that forced Rosi Batzler to sit on the couch for a few days every month during her period. Today the 56-year-old is in constant pain.

For 26 years she has suffered from endometriosis - a chronic disease caused by cells in the lining of the uterus that settle outside the uterus. How they get there can only be guessed at.

Hormones such as the birth control pill can alleviate the symptoms that usually occur cyclically. The painful tissue can be surgically removed. But for some women, the pain still gets worse. You have to live with it.

Every tenth woman suffers from increased period pain

The Endometriosis Research Foundation estimates that around every tenth woman of childbearing age is affected by endometriosis. The number of unreported cases is high because the symptoms of endometriosis are not clear-cut.

They range from diffuse, period-dependent pain in the lower abdomen to nausea, migraines, pain during sexual intercourse and discomfort during bowel movements. That makes a diagnosis difficult. For those affected, a doctor's marathon to gynecologists, internists and neurologists often begins.

For example, 38-year-old Karin Menzel was with seven different doctors until endometriosis was diagnosed. Until then, she suffered from leg pain every month and felt "at the mercy of her lower abdomen".

Gynecologists are often at a loss

"On average, it takes almost seven years to be diagnosed," says Stefan Renner, senior physician in charge of the women's clinic at Erlangen University Hospital and head of the endometriosis center there. Often gynecologists do not even think about this disease. Because period pain is considered normal.

"If the person affected is no longer in control of their life due to the pain, then at the latest it is time to see a doctor," advises Prof. Uwe Ulrich, chief physician at the Clinic for Gynecology and Obstetrics at the Martin Luther Hospital in Berlin.

No woman should wait seven years before a diagnosis, emphasizes Christian Albring, President of the Professional Association of Gynecologists. Instead, the patient should persist in finding a diagnosis if she has period pain that she is unwilling to accept.

The cause is still unclear