When the endometrial tissue that lines your uterus begins to grow in other places, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries or the tissue lining the pelvis area, it is known as endometriosis.
Because this is tissue from the uterus, it can act just like the uterus, creating its own menstrual cycle where the tissue alternately thickens, breaks down and begins to bleed. Since the blood can't vacate the region, the surrounding tissues get irritated. This can lead to scarring, adhesions and cysts as well as pelvic pain and fertility problems.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis are:
- Painful periods that include cramping and pelvic pain. It can last several days into your normal period and can also cause abdominal and back pain.
- Painful intercourse, both during and after sex.
- Pain while having bowel movements or urinating.
- Excessive bleeding, including bleeding between periods.
- Problems getting pregnant.
- Fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating and nausea can also be present, particularly during your period.
The presence or intensity of pain alone isn't necessarily an indicator of endometriosis. Some women with minor endometriosis may experience a lot of pain while those with an advanced case may have little to no pain. It can also be mistaken for other causes of pain in the pelvis, including irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease or ovarian cysts.
If you are experiencing one of more of these symptoms, you'll want to schedule an appointment with your doctor at Florida Hospital Celebration Health who can confirm the diagnosis and discuss treatment options with you.
Florida Hospital Celebration Health is the proud home of The Endometriosis Center.