Endometriosis is more than the typical pain that comes with your monthly cycle. More often than not, endometriosis is debilitatingly painful for women who suffer from it. Cultural and societal misconceptions about endometriosis further this suffering, too.
With very little accurate information on the disorder and not enough viable treatment options, healing can feel like a lost cause. There is hope if you’re experiencing ongoing pelvic pain or abnormally painful periods. Here are some of the symptoms associated with endometriosis.
Endometriosis Symptoms & Signs
Endometriosis symptoms can vary from mild to severe. An estimated 2-10 percent of women in America are affected by endometriosis. Most commonly, symptoms associated with endometriosis are:
- Intensely painful menstrual cramps
- Heavy bleeding during menstruation
- Bleeding that occurs weeks before or after menstruation
- Pain during or after intercourse
- Lower back cramps during menstruation
- Cramps in the lower abdomen during menstruation
- Nausea or vomiting during menstruation
If you experience these symptoms, speak immediately with your gynecologist or primary care prover. The suffering that comes with endometriosis occurs in isolation often. It’s important to remember that you’re not alone, and there are treatment plans available to you.
What is Endometriosis?
So what exactly is endometriosis, and what are some potential causes? Endometriosis occurs when tissue grows outside of the uterus. The name of this condition comes from the word “endometrium,” which is the tissue found in the uterine lining.
Though this tissue is not endometrium, it acts as though it is. This tissue grows outside of the uterus onto other surrounding organs. The misplaced tissue will most commonly develop on the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the outer surface of the uterus. In some cases, tissue overgrowth can also reach the rectum, bladder, intestines, vaginal canal, cervix, and vulva.
As hormone changes associated with menstruation occur, pain and inflammation follow. The overgrowth of tissue swells, thickens, and breaks down over time and can even cause scarring in the normal tissue.
Because this tissue has nowhere to go, minor bleeding occurs inside the pelvis, resulting in intense pain.
Treatment Options for Endometriosis Pain
When left untreated, endometriosis can grow in severity and intensity. It can disrupt everyday life, and it’s vital to seek treatment. There is no known cure, but there are ways to manage pain and improve your life.
Doctors may prescribe pain medication, hormone therapy, birth control, or patches to relieve endometriosis symptoms. If no significant improvements are shown over time, your provider may suggest surgery. Conservative surgery or laparoscopy are some options to relieve endometriosis pain. These surgeries are minimally invasive, with very few risks.
On a holistic level, you can adopt diet changes and opt for an anti-inflammatory diet. Eating foods that reduce inflammation in the body will inevitably impact your uterus, too. You can also implement lifestyle changes such as exercising and moving more often. Some women even work with pelvic-floor therapists to manage symptoms.
Why Does Endometriosis Occur?
While the root causes of endometriosis are still unknown, general theories exist. Some families may carry predisposing genes that pass endometriosis through DNA. Environmental factors can cause hormonal imbalances, and hormone disruptions impact reproductive organs. As endometriosis worsens, hormonal imbalances tend to worsen.
Some theories suggest that tissue backs up through the fallopian tubes and into the abdomen during menstruation, and this tissue grows and attaches itself and grows over time. Some researchers suggest that endometriosis can travel through the blood and lymphatic channels.
Though the cause of endometriosis is generally unknown, there are treatment plans for its pain.
BASS Medical Has the Answers
For any health concerns, BASS Medical is here for you. Our committed team of experts will work diligently with you to better your health and well-being. We specialize in a wide range of health concerns and conditions. Don’t hesitate to come to us with your questions. Reach out to us today to schedule your next appointment.