More than 11% of American women between the ages of 15 to 44 are affected by endometriosis. The endometrium is the tissue that normally lines the uterus or womb. Endometriosis, also known as endo, is a painful disorder caused by the lining of the uterus to grow outside of the uterus. Typically, endometriosis is found on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, or outer surface of the uterus. There are other sites for the growth to occur which include the vagina, cervix, vulva, bowel, bladder, or rectum. In some rare conditions, it can affect areas outside of the pelvic organs.
Symptoms of endometriosis have been described as extremely painful and typically increase over time. Many say the first symptom is pelvic pain often associated with the menstrual cycle. Even though most cramps are painful, women who have endometriosis describe the pain to be much worse than their “normal cramps.” Here are some more symptoms associated with endometriosis.
Pain is the most common symptom and can be a variety of different kinds of pain.
- Menstrual cramps
- Chronic (long-term) pain in lower back and pelvis
- Pain after or during sex
- Intestinal Pain
- Painful bowel movements or when urinating
2. Bleeding or Spotting
Although bleeding or spotting between cycles is a symptom for other conditions, it is also a sign of endometriosis. It has also been reported by women who have “endo” that they have experienced heavy periods as well.
3. Digestive Problems
Having digestive problems during the menstrual cycle such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea is signs of endometriosis.
Having problems getting pregnant is a symptom of possible endometriosis. Researchers think that endo may cause infertility, but the research is still ongoing.
There is not a known cause of the disease. Researchers are currently studying possible causes like genetic factors, immune system problems, hormones, and even after surgery. Endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose because the symptoms are similar to other conditions but speaking with your doctor as soon as you have any of these symptoms will help. Early diagnosis will help with the control of symptoms.