By Jacqueline Harris
Although endometriosis is a common condition experienced by millions of women, it can often take a long time to receive a diagnosis of endometriosis. This is because the signs of endometriosis are very similar to the very normal changes that occur during a normal menstrual cycle. In fact, many women do not recognize that they are experiencing the signs of endometriosis, but believe they suffer from "bad periods". If this continues to go unchecked, the endometriosis can spread throughout the body and become severe. Her periods will get progressively worse, and her future reproductive health is put in serious jeopardy.
It is sometimes difficult to get the correct initial diagnosis of endometriosis because many of the signs of endometriosis are very similar to the warning signs of other serious health conditions, such as fibroid tumors, colon cancer, ovarian cysts, irritable bowel syndrome, pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cancer, ectopic pregnancy, and appendicitis. Because the majority of these conditions are life-threatening, most doctors will try to rule out these conditions early on in the process.
There are other women who do not display any of the signs of endometriosis. They may have this condition for years and not even know it, allowing the condition to become very serious. A diagnosis of endometriosis may come years later during a routine exam by a doctor or during another surgical procedure. At this point, permanent damage may have been done to the woman’s reproductive system and other systems in the body.
The most common signs of endometriosis include pain before and during your period, lower back pain, pain during or after intercourse, fatigue, infertility, chronic pelvic pain not just during your period, painful bowel movements, constipation, diarrhea, painful urination during your period, and heavy or irregular periods. All of these symptoms can range in severity, depending on the extent of your endometriosis. Again, these symptoms may be associated with the normal changes a woman’s body goes through during the menstrual cycle. This is why it is so important to listen to your body and receive regular medical care.
Other signs of endometriosis that are common are depression, low blood sugar, anxiety, increased likelihood of allergies or infection, low grade fevers, and headaches. These signs, however, are usually not associated with endometriosis. In fact, most women who have these symptoms see their general practitioner instead of their gynecologist because these signs of endometriosis appear to have nothing to do with a woman’s reproductive system. This can delay the proper diagnosis.
If you notice any of the signs of endometriosis, it is in your best interest to make an appointment with your gynecologist as soon as possible. There are many different and effective treatments to help manage the signs of endometriosis and delay the spread of endometrial cells. Once you find the correct treatment, you will notice that your symptoms will become more manageable and you will soon be able to resume a normal life.