Of the many reproductive health issues that can affect women, endometriosis is one of the most common, affecting about 11% of women between the ages of 15 and 44 in the United States.
Before we tackle the different symptoms and side effects that can come with endometriosis, we want to briefly review what this common gynecologic condition entails.
With endometriosis, cells and tissues that normally line the inside of your uterus grow outside your uterus instead. Called endometrial implants, these misplaced cells and tissues behave as if they were inside your uterus, thickening with your menstrual cycles.
When it comes time for these misplaced endometrial tissues to shed out, however, they have nowhere to go. As a result, endometrial tissues can lead to adhesions (scar tissue) that can attach themselves to your:
In rare cases, these tissues can travel up into your chest.
Now that we understand what we’re up against, let’s get into the signs of endometriosis, which include:
This is one symptom that many women with endometriosis share — pelvic pain. This pain can flare during periods as the tissues have nowhere to go, leading to severe menstrual cramps.
Pelvic pain might also occur during intercourse as the act can tug on endometrial adhesions in your pelvis. For the same reasons, you can also experience pain during bowel movements.
Endometriosis can also lead to chronic pelvic pain and sometimes lower back pain, regardless of where you are during your menstrual cycle.
When you have endometriosis, you may experience abnormal bleeding, such as heavy bleeding during your periods. In addition to the heavy bleeding, you might also develop spotting between your periods.
Between 30% and 50% of women with infertility also have endometriosis, and the connection is more than likely not a coincidence. If the endometrial tissues involve your Fallopian tubes, uterus, or ovaries, they can be interfering with your ability to get pregnant.
If your symptoms check some of these boxes, you should come see us for an evaluation. If we find that you have endometriosis, we can get you on a treatment path that will meet your goals.
For example, we can try hormonal medications or hormone agonists that can better control your menstrual cycles and your discomfort.
If you're trying to build your family, we can explore surgery to remove the endometrial adhesions that are getting in the way.
Before we get too far ahead of ourselves, your first step is to schedule a consultation with us. Simply contact our office in Mobile, Alabama, to get started.