Endometriosis is a disease of the female reproductive system that causes tissue usually found inside the uterus to grow outside the uterus. The disease is among the most common gynecological conditions, and its primary symptoms include pain and infertility in the pelvic cavity, including on or under the ovaries, on the fallopian tubes, behind the uterus, on the tissues that hold the uterus in place, on the bowels or bladder, and in rare cases on the lungs or in other parts of the body.
There is currently no cure for endometriosis, but there are treatments aimed at easing the symptoms of the disease. Physicians evaluate a patient’s age, severity of the symptoms, severity of the disease, and desire to have children, and are recommend medication pills, hormone therapy, surgery or a combination of treatments based on these factors. However, to treat endometriosis, physicians need to confirm the diagnosis first, which is why it is important to be aware of the signs that may indicate endometriosis and seek medical help.
Endometriosis Signs to Be Aware of
Common signs of endometriosis include painful, even debilitating, menstrual cramps, which may get worse over time, pain during or after sex, pain in the intestine or lower abdomen, painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods, heavy menstrual periods, premenstrual spotting or bleeding between periods, painful bladder syndrome, digestive or gastrointestinal symptoms similar to a bowel disorder, as well as fatigue, tiredness, or lack of energy.
However, pain is the main symptom, and pelvic pain is one of the primary endometriosis signs in 75% of women, while fertility problems are related to endometriosis in 50% of the cases. Despite the fact that these symptoms may indicate other diseases, the existence of many and persistence of the symptoms can be related to endometriosis. Therefore, it is important for women to be aware of these signs and discuss potential problems with their gynecologist.
What to Do When There Are Endometriosis Signs
When patients experience these symptoms or suspect endometriosis, the best option is to ask a gynecologist. In some cases, the symptoms may be related to other problems, but physicians usually request medical exams to evaluate the situation. Even when a gynecologist believes it is not the case, it may be helpful to seek another opinion, since endometriosis is still often misdiagnosed. The symptoms of endometriosis can be similar to and confused with symptoms of other conditions like uterine cancer, cervical polyps, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, and ovarian cysts, which is why the average time before diagnostic confirmation is currently 10 years.
“Surgery is currently the only way to be sure of the diagnosis of endometriosis. The most common surgery is called laparoscopy,” states the National Institutes of Health (NIH). During the procedure, the surgeon slightly inflates the abdomen with a harmless gas, uses a small viewing instrument to observe the reproductive organs, intestines, and other surfaces to see if there is any endometriosis. In addition, the physicians may also request an additional biopsy, which consists on taking a small tissue sample and studying it under a microscope, to confirm the diagnosis.
Note: Endometriosis News is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.