Endometriosis is a chronic condition that involves the uterine tissue growing outside the uterus, thereby producing a range of symptoms. The tissues grow in clumps called implants and may spread to the ovaries, fallopian tubes, intestines and other abdominal organs. In rare cases, other organs can also be affected. You should seek immediate medical help if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms in order to rule out the possibility of endometriosis. The earlier you catch the condition, the sooner you can begin treatment, giving you the best chance of achieving a successful remedy.1. Pelvic Pain
If you are suffering from endometriosis, you may experience frequent pain in your pelvic region. The severity of this pain can range from mild to extreme, depending on the extent of the condition. The pain can occur just before or during menstruation, when ovulating, or in rare cases, at random throughout the month. These aches are caused by inflammation, lesions or organ dislocation. Many women assume that these pelvic aches are, in fact, normal and common to those prone to difficult menstrual cycles. However, severe and random pelvic pain needs to be investigated further, as it could be a sign of endometriosis or some other serious condition.
2. Pain Throughout the Body
Endometriosis is also associated with pain in other parts of the body besides the pelvis, including the lower back, rectum, legs and thighs. Usually, the pain can be attributed to organ dislocation, which is common in endometriosis. In some cases, new nerves form and interact with the existing nervous system, causing pain. Of course, there are many conditions, many of them less serious than endometriosis, that can cause such aches as well. However, if this symptom occurs in tandem with other endometriosis symptoms, you should see your doctor right away for an official diagnosis.
3. Painful Intercourse
Some studies have found that over 50 percent of women suffering from endometriosis feel pain during intercourse. Painful intercourse is an outcome of abnormal growths in the vagina or lower part of the uterus. This impacts the uterine nerves and ligaments, and the thrusting motion of intercourse presses on these growths, thus causing pain and discomfort. The soreness resulting from intercourse can last for as long as two days after the act. By association, this can impact your libido, making you not want to have sex. Some women claim that it is not just intercourse, but any thrusting motion, including inserting a tampon, that can cause pain.
Endometriosis poses a threat to your fertility, as it may alter the anatomy of your pelvis, cause adhesions, scar your fallopian tubes, inflame your reproductive organs, cause hormonal imbalances and negatively impact the quality of your eggs. In fact, 30 to 50 percent of women with endometriosis also suffer from infertility. Doctors assess the severity of this condition in stages graded 1 through 4, with Stage 1 being the mildest and Stage 4 the most severe. Depending on the severity of the condition, fertility treatments may be able to help you conceive.
5. Excessive Bleeding
Women suffering from endometriosis may also experience excessive bleeding during menstruation and abnormal bleeding at other times of the month. You may notice spotting between periods, and in some extreme cases, you may have rectal bleeding and bloody stools as well. Vaginal bleeding during intercourse is also possible. If you are experiencing any of these signs, even just when menstruating, you should not take this lightly. This is not considered normal, and you should seek medical help immediately.
6. Urinary Problems
Many endometriosis patients face urinary problems. The most common symptom is experiencing pain when passing urine, especially during menstruation. Some women also complain of bloody urine, though that is less common. Endometriosis also makes women more vulnerable to urinary tract infections (UTIs). Those who have a tendency to contract UTIs frequently should see a doctor to get checked for this condition.
7. Disturbed Bowel Function
Endometriosis is also capable of producing symptoms similar to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). Diarrhea and constipation are common as well, though if the condition is not yet diagnosed, your doctor may not make the connection until other symptoms emerge. During your period, you may experience bloating, diarrhea and constipation. You may also feel pain with each bowel movement. This is a clear warning sign that it is not just ordinary indigestion that you are experiencing.
Although doctors don’t yet have a clear understanding of why endometriosis causes fatigue, it is common in nearly all women suffering from the condition. A popular theory is that chronic pain in the pelvis and other areas of the body disrupts sleep, causing patients to be tired during the day. In addition, constant pain can lead to stress, making it even more difficult to get adequate sleep. It may also be that the inflammation endometriosis causes activates the immune system and saps energy, making you feel weary and drowsy.
Depression is common in women suffering from endometriosis. The diagnosis of this condition may take as long as 10 years, and suffering continually without knowing why can often lead to depression. Also, if endometriosis is responsible for decreased fertility, you may be even more upset about having difficulty conceiving. The ongoing pain and discomfort this disease causes tends to take a toll on your mental health, so you should see a medical professional right away if you are experiencing signs of depression.
10. Other Symptoms
Endometriosis is also known to produce symptoms that are not typically associated with uterine troubles. It can cause nausea, vomiting, hypoglycemia, headaches, low-grade fevers and more. These symptoms are less common and can hardly be expected to alert one to the possibility of having endometriosis. However, if you are not feeling well, you should see your doctor right away to determine the cause of your malaise.