By Kristi Patrice Carter
Do you experience heavy, painful periods? This can make a woman’s life unbearable. Thousands of women suffer silently, without discussing this matter with their doctors because the signs and symptoms of endometriosis can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. What these women do not realize is that heavy, painful periods are often a sign of endometriosis, an easily treated and common health condition.
Doctors do not yet know what causes endometriosis. They do know that endometriosis occurs when cells that normally leave the body during the menstrual cycle do not actually leave the body. Instead, they attach to the uterus, ovaries, cervix, and other reproductive organs. Once they attach, these cells grow rapidly and can spread quickly. This can cause internal scarring, infertility, and excruciating pain.
Endometriosis does not limit its growth to a woman’s reproductive system. It has been known to spread to the bladder, arms, legs, lungs, and even the brain. Because of this, it is important to catch endometriosis early on in order to help treat and prevent the spread of endometrial cells before they invade other systems in the body.
Many of the signs and symptoms of endometriosis are similar to the signs and symptoms of more serious medical conditions, including ovarian cancer, irritable bowel syndrome, ectopic pregnancy, colon cancer, pelvic inflammatory disease, and vulvadinia. All of these conditions are serious health conditions that your doctor will want to rule out immediately before reaching a diagnosis of endometriosis.
The most common signs and symptoms of endometriosis are irregular, heavy, or painful menstrual periods, lower back pain, pelvic pain during or after sexual intercourse, general pelvic pain throughout the month, constipation, diarrhea, painful bowel movements, painful urination, fatigue, and infertility. Many women falsely believe that these are the normal experiences that all women suffer through once a month. This is simply not the case.
Other signs and symptoms of endometriosis include headaches, depression, low blood sugar, anxiety, allergies, fatigue, and low grade fevers. These symptoms on their own may lead doctors to explore other health conditions before looking into a possible diagnosis of endometriosis. This is why it is so important to pay attention to your body and see your doctor regularly.
Some women do not report any signs or symptoms of endometriosis. Although this is rare, it does occur. Most of these women are diagnosed with endometriosis during a routine pelvic exam. At the point where endometriosis is visible to a doctor, the endometriosis is most likely moderate to severe. This means that there may be scarring and the woman’s future fertility may be at risk.
While there is no known cure for endometriosis, it can be managed so that women do not suffer the pain of endometriosis. If you exhibit the signs and symptoms of endometriosis, do not hesitate to book an appointment in order to discuss your concerns with your doctor.