Endometrium is the lining of inner side of uterus. However, in certain conditions endometrium grows outside uterus (commonly in Fallopian tubes, ovaries and lining in pelvis) and is called endometriosis. On rare occasions, endometriosis may be seen outside pelvic area. It is a painful condition, because, as with normal endometrial lining, the endometrial tissue outside uterus grows/thickens, breaks down and bleeds during each menstrual cycle. As the endometrial tissue after bleeding and breaking down do not have a way to exit your body, it is trapped inside your body and lead to painful condition (especially painful during menstrual cycle). If ovaries are involved it may lead to formation of cyst known as endometriomas and may lead to infertility. The good news is that, there is effective treatment available for endometriosis.
What are the signs and symptoms of endometriosis?
The most important and primary symptom of endometriosis is of course pelvic pain, especially during menstrual period. There are also many women who complain of pain during menstruation, however, pain due to endometriosis is more severe in nature and the pain gradually increase as time passes. Symptoms of endometriosis develops several years after starting of menstruation and symptoms ends with menopause. In between, symptoms temporarily disappear during pregnancy. Symptoms of endometriosis may continue, if you keep taking estrogen.
Symptoms of endometriosis include,
- Pain during menstruation (known as dysmenorrhea) is the most important and primary symptoms. Pelvic pain and cramping type of pain days before menstruation that lasts for days after menstruation is common complaint. Along with pelvic pain, there may be low back pain and abdominal pain.
- Pain during urination and defecation is seen in endometriosis patients, especially during menstrual periods.
- Pain during intercourse is common in endometriosis.
- Along with dysmenorrhea (pain during menstruation) there may also be excess bleeding in menstruation (menorrhegia) or bleeding in between periods (menometrorrhagia)
- Infertility is an important sign of endometriosis. Endometriosis may be first diagnosed in patients seeking treatment for infertility, as it is an important cause for infertility.
- There are several non-specific symptoms associated with endometriosis, such as diarrhea, constipation, nausea, generalized weakness, bloating etc. These symptoms are seen especially during menstruation.
Pain of endometriosis during menstruation is usually severe. However, severity of pain is not an indicator of endometriosis. Because many patients with severe endometriosis complaint of very little pain and some patients with mild endometriosis complain of severe pain. There are also many other medical conditions that have pain during menstruation.
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