AUSTIN -- If you think your menstrual cycle is supposed to be painful, one Austin doctor said think again.
Dr. Kaylen Silverberg, a reproductive endocrinologist, said you may have a common medical condition called endometriosis, which affects one in 10 women.
"Endometriosis is normal uterine lining in an abnormal location," said said Dr. Silverberg. "So uterine lining should be inside the uterus, it shouldn't be anywhere else. We have patients who have endometriosis because they have that uterine lining on their ovaries, on their bowel, on their fallopian tubes, on their liver. I've had patients who've had endometriosis on their brain. I've had patients who've had endometriosis on their lung."
Austin casting director Sally Allen discovered she had the condition in the most inconvenient way back in 2006.
She was in Marfa, casting for the movie, "There Will Be Blood." One night right before filming, Allen said she woke up in excruciating pain and ended up in an eight-hour emergency surgery.
"They had to remove my right ovary and tube. The tumor actually twisted on itself and exploded. I know that's what woke me up in the middle of the night," said Allen.
After much research, Allen found Dr. Silverberg, also in 2006.
He wrote the chapter on endometriosis in the "Textbook of Gynecology."
"Endometriosis can be very serious," Dr. Silverberg said. "It's a very prevalent condition that affects almost 200 million worldwide. It is a very common cause of infertility. It's also a very common cause of pelvic pain, pain with periods, pain with sex. It can be debilitating."
After several years of treatment, a miracle happened. Allen became pregnant and had Reece in 2012. It has been an emotional roller coaster.
"It's just been such a long journey, but I couldn't have asked for a better outcome. But I was just tired, I was just tired of not feeling good in some form or fashion," said Allen.
Now, she joins Dr. Silverberg in raising awareness about just how common endometriosis is.
"Mild cramping with your period, normal. Severe, disabling cramping that interferes with your ability to carry out your life is not normal," said Dr. Silverberg, who encourages women to seek medical care immediately.
Dr. Silverberg is also the Medical Director of the Texas Fertility Center.
Last month, U.S. Senator Orrin Hatch called endometriosis a public health emergency.