What is endometriosis?

I can remember the first time I had my period.

It was messy, painful and really uncomfortable.

Through the years I have come to expect that once it is that time of the month I would have some cramping. These cramps are an uncomfortable but manageable pain especially when I take some ibruprofen but when do menstrual cramps stop being normal and become something more?

Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which the endometrium tissue, which lines the inside of the uterus, grows outside the uterus.

The tissue usually grows to the surrounding tissue including the ovaries, bowel or the tissue lining the pelvis.

Normally the endometrial tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle.

But with endometriosis the tissue thickens, breaks down and bleeds in the surrounding regions but cannot be expelled via menstruation so it is trapped in the body.

This can be a serious problem because when endometriosis occurs in the ovaries, ovarian cysts called endometriomas may form.

The surrounding tissue can also become irritated and develop tissue that bind organs together.

While most women experience some pain during menstruation with endometriosis the pain is usually more severe.

Some patients are rushed to the emergency room due to the severity of the pain.

Endometriosis can also lead to fertility problems if left untreated

So how do you know if you have endometriosis?

Symptoms of endometriosis include the following

  1. Painful periods: also know as dysmenorrhea this pain may begin before their periods and extend several days into their period. Affected areas include the pelvis, lower back and abdomen.
  2. Excessive bleeding during menstruation: Patients usually experience heavy bleeding during their periods and some even experience bleeding between periods.

Other symptoms of this disorder include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating, nausea, and pain during sex.

Endometriosis share the same symptoms with many other illnesses including pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) so if you suspect that you have this disorder consult a doctor to confirm your diagnosis.

There are numerous treatment options available for Endometriosis so if it is confirmed that you do have this disorder your Doctor would advise you on the best treatment options available.

Photo by dream designs. Published on 26 June 2012
Stock photo – Image ID: 10088027