Dr. Thomas D’Hooghe, a professor at the Catholic University of Leuven and director of the Leuven (Belgium) University Fertility Center, presented the results of a systematic literature review of 1,014 publications over a 30-year span, with 15 studies found to examine the prevalence of endometriosis in adolescents.
Of 893 girls who presented for laparoscopy with chronic pelvic pain or dysmenorrhea and were resistant to treatment with oral contraceptives or NSAIDS, 62% were diagnosed with endometriosis. In the subpopulation of those with chronic pelvic pain alone, the prevalence of endometriosis was 49%, he reported.
In the studies that evaluated disease severity, 32% (82 of 249) of adolescent patients had moderate to severe endometriosis. Laparoscopic findings included rectal lesions and tubo-ovarian adhesions, extensive disease of the peritoneum, ovaries and surrounding structures, and rectovaginal, bowel and ureteric endometriosis.
Read it all here, and don’t forget: chronic menstrual pain is something healthcare providers should evaluate, not just blow off or throw birth control pills at and do nothing else, especially when those don’t help. If you’re experiencing it, do your best to advocate for yourself, be clear about what’s been going on in terms of your symptoms, and ask to have it investigated when you have access to healthcare.