Symptoms Can Start as Young as 12
By Denise Dador
Apr. 9, 2007 (KABC-TV) - High school senior Valerie Berrin splits her time between softball and homework, but life wasn't always so typical for the teen. When she was just eight, she started suffering terrible pain.
"It was almost kind of like a rock was kind of sitting on my stomach. Sometimes it was sharp, very sharp," Valerie said.
The pain was so chronic, Valerie and her mom Fran traveled to dozens of specialists across the country. No one could figure out the problem.
"I did colonoscopies and endoscopies," Valerie said.
"I felt it was very frustrating as a mom," Fran said.
Fran says there was a series of misdiagnoses. Then, finally, an answer. Valerie had a gynecological condition called endometriosis, years before she even got her first period.
"I was overwhelmed at the fact that this very young girl was now a gynecological endometriosis patient," Fran said.
The condition occurs when tissue that lines the uterine walls grows outside the uterus. It can cause serious pain and infertility. An estimated 5.5 million women have it. But, leading specialists now warn symptoms can start as young as 12, or even sooner.