Endometriosis is a chronic disorder affecting over 6 million women in the United States. Endometriosis occurs when the tissue that lines the uterus, called the endometrium, develops outside the uterus – most commonly in the ovaries, fallopian tubes, bowel, pelvic area, and less commonly, beyond the pelvic region.
This endometrium tissue, when outside the uterus, can cause growth or lesions. When the body menstruates and endometrium tissue builds up and sheds, causing a period, these lesions do the same thing. However, the blood that sheds from the tissue outside the uterus has no way of funneling outside the body, which can result in inflammation and internal bleeding. Over time, endometriosis can cause the abnormally located tissue to bind organs together.
Doctors can certainly see signs of Endometriosis from an evaluation and ultrasound, however, diagnosis is confirmed by laparoscopy, which is a minor surgical procedure. During a laparoscopy, a doctor can determine the location and size of the growths, as well as any complications that have occurred.
Here are some of the most common Endometriosis symptoms:
Endometriosis usually causes pain in the pelvic region, and it can be severe in some people. The pain is often worse during your period, which is called dysmenorrhea.
Endometriosis can also cause pain, both during and after sex, as well as pain during urination and/or bowel movements.
While pain is the most common symptom of endometriosis, it is not always an accurate indicator of the severity of the disorder. But the pain is usually worse before and during the period, and improves afterwards.