Endometriosis is an elusive disease that causes a great deal of pain and is difficult to diagnose. In fact, endometriosis will not show up on any test. It can only be diagnosed through laparoscopy. This condition is caused by a buildup of endometrial cells in the abdomen, which are cells found inside the uterus. When these cells start growing outside the uterus, the body tries to attack them and surrounds them with scar tissue in an effort to stop the invasion.
Endometriosis is progressive, meaning it will continue to get worse without treatment. Even with treatment, many women continue to experience symptoms well past menopause. Since it is best treated if it is caught early, you should talk to your doctor immediately if you notice any one of the following painful symptoms.
Women who have endometriosis often complain of intense pain during menstruation. The pain is more intense than that associated with a normal period and often lasts longer. For some women, pain begins before ovulation and continues until after the bleeding has stopped. In addition to cramps commonly known as period cramps, endometriosis can cause lower back pain that radiates down the legs.
Pain at Other Times
Endometriosis can also cause pain during other activities, such as sex and going to the bathroom. Women who experience a great deal of pain while having intercourse, especially those that complain that the pain seems to get more intense as their period gets closer, might have endometriosis. This is also true if they experience pain while having a bowel movement or urinating. Pain associated with bathroom activities also tends to get more intense during that time of the month.
Infertility is a major issue associated with endometriosis. In fact, approximately 40 percent of women who have problems getting pregnant have endometriosis. This condition causes infertility because of scar tissue development. Scar tissue, which commonly forms on and around the Fallopian tubes, can prevent eggs from dropping. It can also keep sperm from getting to the eggs. Furthermore, advanced stages can alter the anatomy of the female sex organs, making it more difficult for conception to occur. Constant inflammation in the area can also lower the quality of the eggs.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should talk to an OB/GYN about the possibility that you may have endometriosis. Since these symptoms can be caused by other conditions as well, it's very important that you allow doctor to examine you thoroughly, even if it requires exploratory surgery.