What is Endometriosis and What are the First Signs of it?

Over 200,000 women in the United States suffer from endometriosis.

What is endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a painful condition that occurs when the tissues normally found in the lining of the uterus, the endometrium, grows outside of it. This condition could affect the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissues lining the pelvis. 

Why does it happen?

The exact cause of endometriosis is still unknown although medical experts think that the following could offer a possible explanation:

  • Transformation of peritoneal cells

Some experts believe that certain hormone or immune factors could lead to the transformation of peritoneal cells (cells lining the inner side of the abdomen) into endometrial-like cells.

  • Surgical scar implantation

Surgical procedures such as hysterectomy may cause the endometrial cells to attach to the scar tissue. 

  • Endometrial cell transport

Through the circulatory and lymphatic system, some endometrial cells may be transported to other parts of the body.

  • Autoimmune disorders

Some immune system disorders may cause the body to fail at recognizing endometrial-like tissues growing outside the uterus. 

What are the symptoms of endometriosis?

If you experience the following symptoms, don’t hesitate to see a specialist as these are the common complaints of women with endometriosis:

  • Pelvic pain

Women with endometriosis often complain of pelvic pain before, during, and after menstruation.

  • Excessive bleeding

You may have occasional heavy bleeding during your menstrual period or between periods.

  • Painful urination or pain during bowel movement

You may experience painful urination or pain during a bowel movement. 

The pain with urination could be a result of pressure from water retention. 

  • Sore lower back and shoulders

Endometriosis can cause vague symptoms usually associated with menstruation, such as lower back and achy shoulders. These are usually felt during and after a menstrual period.

  • Painful sex

You may experience pain while having sex and even 2 days after intercourse. Many women described it as a stabbing or sharp pain.

  • Leg pain

Endometriosis can affect the nerves that are connected to your groin, hips, and legs. Hence, you may end up having challenges with walking.

Other symptoms to watch out for include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, and bloating especially during menstrual periods.

When to see a doctor?

When left unmanaged, endometriosis could lead to infertility and even ovarian cancer. If you suspect that you have endometriosis, see a specialist immediately. 

The Women’s Healthcare of Norman has gynecologists who are well-experienced in diagnosing and treating endometriosis. To request an appointment, you may call (405) 360-1264