Endometriosis is a disorder where the lining of the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. It is often painful and the tissue will often inside the ovaries, the pelvis, and the fallopian tubes. The tissue becomes stuck inside the body where it has been displaced. The tissue most often grows in the pelvic region, but sometimes it is found in other parts of the body.
When the ovaries are involved in endometriosis, the tissue can begin to form cysts, also called, endometriomas. These growths are often very painful and may cause the surrounding tissue to form scars. Adhesions may also form, causing tissues and bodily organs to stick together.
Endometriosis is a disorder that is most painful during the period. It can cause long-term damage such as infertility.
Many women who suffer from endometriosis have pelvic pain as their primary symptom. This often happens during the menstrual period. Cramping is associated with the period, but the pain from endometriosis is much more intense. Women with endometriosis may not be able to perform their daily activities because of the severity of the pain.
People who suffer from endometriosis may experience pain:
- before, during, and after their menstrual period
- when they ovulate
- during intercourse
- while passing bowel movements and urine
- in their back
The severity of the pain does not necessarily indicate the severity of the condition. Women with mild pain may have advanced endometriosis and vice versa.
Because of it’s relation to the pelvis, endometriosis is sometimes misdiagnosed as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), or ovarian cysts.
Other symptoms of endometriosis are:
- infertility: 30-40% of women who suffer from endometriosis are infertile
- problems with bowel movements such as diarrhea and constipation, especially during the menstrual period
- irregular bleeding and spotting between periods
- heavy menstrual periods
- bloating in relation to the menstrual period
- nausea in relation to the menstrual period
There are several factors that could contribute to the development of endometriosis. These are:
- retrograde menstruation, where menstrual blood and tissue travels up the fallopian and into the abdomen
- the cells in the body change into the type of cell from the uterus
- uterine cells travel through the lymphatic system or blood vessels and implant themselves on foreign tissue
- endometrial cells attach themselves to an incision during surgery such as a c-section or a hysterectomy
There are a few available treatments for endometriosis. These are:
- over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen which help with pain
- contraceptive pills, which induce temporary menopause
- surgery, which clears the pelvic region of scar tissue and reduces pain
Endometriosis is can be severely painful and can cause long-term effects such as infertility. Thankfully, doctors and researchers are finding new ways to treat the disorder. If you have endometriosis, you can get paid for research studies.