Endometriosis Symptoms: All You Need to Know
Endometriosis is a common gynecological disorder. According to data from the World Health Organization (WHO), it affects 10% of the female population of reproductive age worldwide. It’s characterized by the development of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and can manifest itself in different ways, depending on the woman. However, it’s still possible to talk about the most common endometriosis symptoms, so keep reading!
Even though the intensity and combination of symptoms may vary from one woman to another, the ones that we’re going to develop below are some of the most characteristic in most cases. Let’s start with the most prominent one: pelvic pain.
Endometriosis is a disease that can have a great impact on a woman’s life. It isn’t just a particularly painful premenstrual syndrome that affects her occasionally – it’s a chronic health problem that requires treatment and proper monitoring.
It causes very intense pain during menstruation (and which can also be disabling), but also during (or after) sexual intercourse, urinating, and even defecating during menstruation.
Menstrual cramps or cramps are so intense that they can force women to put their academic or work activities on hold. They can also get worse over time.
Sometimes the pain can be accompanied by other symptoms, such as diarrhea, constipation, bloating, and nausea.
It should be noted that the intensity of the pain doesn’t always correspond to the severity of endometriosis.
Pain tends to become chronic, as a consequence of hypersensitization of the brain’s pain centers. It most often affects the pelvis and lower back area. For this reason, proper treatment and monitoring are so necessary.
The Office of Women’s Health states that pain that occurs during or after sexual activity is commonly described as deep. It’s different from what is felt at the beginning of penetration (which is usually easily tolerated).
- Pain is caused by endometrial lesions, scar tissue, and the point where they’re located.
- Sex positions that promote deep penetration are especially painful.
Heavy menstrual periods
Women with endometriosis generally have a heavier blood flow during their menstruation than healthy women. However, this can vary from woman to woman, and there may even be cases where there’s no menstruation. Some sources state that some women report premenstrual bleeding or spotting between periods.
Depression and fatigue
As a consequence of the pain and the impact that the disease itself can cause in various spheres of life (including the sexual sphere), it’s common for women with endometriosis to experience fatigue and develop depression.
Other symptoms of endometriosis are bladder problems. This can range from painful urination, an urgency to go to the bathroom, frequent urination, and blood in the urine. The discomfort may become more intense during menstruation.
Constipation or diarrhea
Women with endometriosis may also experience bouts of constipation and diarrhea alternately. Some may experience pain even when passing gas and having a bowel movement.
In addition to the symptoms of endometriosis already mentioned, a woman with this disease can suffer from difficulties in getting pregnant and even infertility. However, not all women with the disease will be sterile.
Experts still don’t really know why some women with endometriosis suffer from infertility and others don’t. However, Cochrane experts indicate that the severity of the disease and the location of the tissue appear to play an important role.
“Infertility occurs due to the probable effects of endometriosis in the pelvic cavity, the ovaries, the fallopian tubes or the uterus,” the WHO explains. This means that, to the extent that the disease compromises the reproductive system, fertility can be diminished.
- Some assisted reproductive techniques (ART) or others, including in vitro fertilization (IVF), can be used, even in severe cases.
- Some studies on the subject indicate that surgical treatment of endometriosis can help restore natural fertility.
When to go to the doctor?
If you have discomfort and suspect that you might have endometriosis or some other gynecological problem, it’s best to get a check-up with the specialist as soon as possible. In this way, you’ll put your mind at ease and receive the most appropriate treatment early on.
Keep in mind that endometriosis could occur asymptomatically in some cases, and so it isn’t advisable to skip regular gynecological check-ups.
On the other hand, if you’ve been diagnosed with endometriosis, you should maintain regular gynecological control and follow the treatment prescribed by your doctor. In this sense, remember that adherence to treatment is part of its success, as confirmed by various specialized sources.
Along with this, it’s recommended that you maintain a healthy lifestyle, which not only focuses on eating healthily and exercising regularly, but also on managing emotional stress and taking care of your health in a comprehensive way.
In case you have concerns about the treatment or want to try other alternatives, it’s important that you discuss it with the specialist in order to proceed in the safest and most beneficial way possible. Don’t suspend the treatment without their authorization, as it could be counterproductive.It might interest you...
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- IVF to treat infertility associated with endometriosis: the latest evidence – Evidently Cochrane [Internet]. Cochrane.net. [cited 2021 Jul 7]. Available from: https://www.evidentlycochrane.net/ivf-to-treat-infertility-associated-with-endometriosis-the-latest-evidence/
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