Endometriosis is a mysterious condition. Although it’s common, affecting millions of women in the U.S., it affects each woman differently. There is no clear cut set of symptoms that can diagnose endometriosis in every woman. Rather, your physician will need to evaluate your individual case.
In a normal menstrual cycle, the lining of the uterus builds up in preparation for a pregnancy. If you don’t become pregnant, this lining sheds itself — also known as your menstrual period. Endometriosis occurs when the lining of the uterus grows in places other than the uterus. Often it is found on the ovaries, bowel, and other pelvic organs. When you get your period each month, this lining tries to shed, but has nowhere to go. This results in pain and other symptoms. No one knows for sure how or why endometriosis happens.
Getting an accurate diagnosis is key to getting treatment and relief. That’s why it’s important to talk with your gynecologist if you notice anything out of the ordinary. The following are possible signs you could have endometriosis:
- Your periods are really painful. Perhaps the most obvious and common of all the symptoms, pain in the abdominal and pelvic area can be mild to severe. Often, it occurs during your period, but it can also occur at other times, such as mid-cycle. Pain during intercourse is another symptom.
- You have bleeding and spotting when you’re not on your period. Some women notice bleeding at times other than their menstrual cycles. This is a symptom of endometriosis, but it may also signal a more serious issue — so see your gynecologist right away if you notice this.
- You feel sick during your period. Nausea, diarrhea, or other digestive problems can occur with endometriosis. Although it seems unrelated, having an upset stomach or pain with bowel movements during your period is a common symptom.
- You feel really tired when your period starts. Many women report extreme fatigue with endometriosis, and it is most pronounced on the first few days of your menstrual cycle.
- You can’t get pregnant, and don’t know why. Endometriosis can cause infertility. Talk with your gynecologist if you’ve tried to get pregnant for several months without success. Endometriosis may be to blame, and there are a variety of treatments available to help.
These symptoms are sometimes caused by other health problems — which is why endometriosis can be difficult to diagnose. Consider keeping a diary of your symptoms for several weeks to see if you notice a pattern. Many women find relief from their symptoms with birth control pills, medications, and laparoscopic surgery. Women who are struggling with infertility may also be able to get pregnant with the help of certain medications or assisted reproduction techniques.
CarePoint Health Gynecology
With the help of a skilled gynecologist at CarePoint Health, you can make educated decisions about your health to be at your best at any stage of life. For more information about the comprehensive women’s services we provide, please contact us.
Content on our website is for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical advice. If you are experiencing a medical emergency, please call 911. Always consult your physician before making any changes to your medical treatment.