Symptoms of endometriosis

Endometriosis, a type of medical complication which develops in the reproductive systems of women, occurs when endometrium (the membrane used to line uteruses) begins to grow in parts of the body where it should not. These locations commonly include one’s ovaries, fallopian tubes or pelvic tissues. Why is this problematic? Well, think of what happens to the endometrial tissue present in the uterus every month when women have their periods. Yes, it tends to thicken, disintegrate and pass out of the body along with a quantity of blood. The same thing happens to endometrial tissue which ends up growing where it is not supposed to. However, unlike in the case of the uterus, there is no pathway for the blood to leave the body, and it thus becomes trapped there, causing a great deal of irritation to surrounding areas of the body. The trapping of the blood in the body can result in the formation of scar tissue, adhesions (an abnormal type of tissue growth which causes organs to be bound together) and even cysts. It can cause a great deal of pain during the time of one’s period, and may affect a woman’s fertility considerably.

Certain people are more prone to endometriosis. These include the likes of white women, Asian women, women who are going to be mothers for the first time, women whose mothers have suffered from endometriosis, women who have menstrual cycles of 27 days or less but bleed for 8 days or more during their periods and women suffering from menstrual blockages. Endometriosis may take quite a few years after menarche (the beginning of menstruation) to manifest properly. It also stops when a woman hits menopause or becomes pregnant. However, when menstruation resumes post-pregnancy, endometrial symptoms may begin to reappear. This phenomenon can also reappear even after menopause if the patient undergoes hormone replacement therapy.

Endometriosis can occur at various intensities, and continues to grow more and more serious if left untreated. In case of some women, no visible symptoms are present, and endometriosis first shows itself when little fragments of endometrium are discovered outside of one’s uterus during the course of a different operation (e.g. tubal ligations). The major symptoms of endometriosis can take numerous forms. Some of them have been discussed below in greater detail.

Dysmenorrhea is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis. It causes periods to become extremely painful. Great degrees of pain and severe cramps are experienced during dysmenorrhea, and it may even take the form of abdominal and lower back pains. However, the intensity of the pain cannot be used to judge the condition of the symptom. The greatest amounts of pain are often suffered by women suffering from mild endometriosis, and may women who are experiencing almost no pain can be suffering from a severe case of it. Due to the lack of a proportionate relationship between the pain and the severity of the condition, it always needs to be checked in detail in order to determine the actual seriousness of the condition. Excessive levels of bleeding can be another problem, both during and between one’s periods.

The symptoms can also take the form of pelvic pains even when the patient is not having her period. It may appear during ovulation, sexual intercourse, urination or even bowel movements.

However, the most serious symptom of endometriosis is none other than infertility. In many cases, endometriosis is first diagnosed when the patient is being treated for infertility. The disruptive growth of endometrium within the body can upset a lot of its delicate balances, considerably affecting a woman’s ability to conceive and give birth to children.

At the onset of any of these symptoms, consult a physician immediately.

Last updated on Jul 2nd, 2010 and filed under Reproductive Health. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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