Endometriosis, often just called “endo,” is a condition where tissue similar to what would typically make up uterine lining grows outside of the uterus. It may grow on the ovaries, fallopian tubes and behind the uterus. It can also be found on the bowel, bladder, and rarely in distant organs such as the lungs. Because of this abnormal tissue growth, endometriosis can be very painful.
Many people with this condition experience painful periods and pain during sex, but they may also have pain and discomfort with their bowel movements and or urination at the time of their menstrual cycle This tissue breaks down and bleeds during the menstrual cycle, just like the tissue inside the uterus. But because it’s growing in another location it doesn’t have a way to properly exit the body.
If endometriosis involves the ovaries it can cause enough irritation to create scar tissue that will band together. The pelvic tissues and organs can actually stick to one another as a result of these fibrous bands. Naturally, that can lead to significant pain and may also cause problems with fertility.
Along with pain during sex or periods, some people with endometriosis may also experience heavy bleeding, bloating, nausea, fatigue, and digestive problems. While issues are generally more common during periods, they can happen at any time and be debilitating in some cases.
While pain is often what sends people to the doctor, some cases of endo don’t cause a lot of pain. Whether a person is in pain isn’t specifically related to the severity of their endometriosis. Since other conditions can cause similar symptoms, endo can go undiagnosed or be misdiagnosed, leading to additional discomfort and frustration.
Getting an early diagnosis can make it easier to get the right treatment. The best way to diagnose endometriosis definitively is through a laparoscopy. Sometimes, this same kind of procedure is used to perform surgery to remove the excess tissue.
Since up to 10 percent of women between 25 and 40 years of age may have endometriosis, it’s very important to work with a healthcare professional if you’re having symptoms. That can mean faster treatment, a reduction in pain, and a reduced risk of fertility issues.
We welcome the opportunity to answer any questions you may have about endometriosis. Here at the Fertility Institute of San Diego, you will be treated with compassion and care. At larger fertility clinics, patients can feel like a number. However, we are different. We realize that you’re a unique individual and we always treat you that way. We take great pride in being a boutique practice, where a single physician who knows everything about your case treats you. Schedule your complimentary virtual consultation today!