(RxWiki News) Severe, long-term pelvic pain in women could be more than cramps during her period. Endometriosis might be to blame, and it was believed to be more common in older women.
However, a recently published study found that certain benign cysts linked with the condition might be more prevalent among late adolescents and young women.
Knowing that cysts could appear early on in a woman's life could lead to interventions that better prevent endometriosis from progressing and, thus, enhance fertility in the future, according to researchers.
"Severe cramps won't go away? Talk to an OB/GYN."
Şebnem Özyer, MD, from the Zekai Tahir Burak Women's Health Education and Research Hospital in Ankara, Turkey, and colleagues investigated endometrioma symptoms in young women and older teenagers.
An endometrioma is a red flame-like benign cyst found on the ovaries in women of reproductive age. Though the cysts are typically uncommon, they are more prominent in younger women and found in up to 44 percent of endometriosis cases.
In endometriosis, the lining of the uterus (called the endometrium) spreads outward into other parts of the body. It can cause abdominal pain and discomfort.
The study included 63 participants with endometriomas who ranged between 17 and 24 years old. Researchers looked at the cysts using laparoscopy, in which a tube with a camera on the end is inserted into a small incision made in the abdomen.
A combination of removing and cauterizing, or burning, the cysts was used during the laparoscopic procedures.
Researchers took note of patients' age, body mass index, symptoms and marital status. Body mass index is a measure of height and weight together.
Researchers also tracked patients' family history of endometriosis, past medical history and endometriosis characteristics when the patients had the procedure.
Chronic pelvic pain was the most common symptom with endometriomas, researchers found. In total, 44 percent of the patients had pelvic pain.
About 65 percent of the patients had an endometrioma on their right ovary. Another 22 percent, or 14 of the patients, had cysts on both of their ovaries.
"It is possible that many young girls with chronic pelvic pain have endometriosis, and thus the possibility needs to be included in the differential diagnosis,..." researchers wrote in their report.
"So, endometriosis in adolescent patient groups offers particular importance since early intervention is essential in order to decrease pain, prevent disease progression, and enhance future fertility."
Future research assessing how many women have endometriosis and endometriomas is needed, according to researchers.
They also suggested that research should address how the condition starts, how to manage it and should investigate any therapeutic outcomes.
The study was published online March 19 in the Journal of Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecology. The authors report no conflicts of interest. Funding information was not available.