×
5 Symptoms of Endometriosis | Causes and Risk Factors Every Woman Should Know About

5 Symptoms of Endometriosis | Causes and Risk Factors Every Woman Should Know About

Endometriosis is a disorder where tissue similar to that lining our uterus starts growing outside it, in the pelvic region. It can cause a lot of pain along with other complications.

Endometriosis is a disorder where tissues similar to the type that lines the inside of your uterus starts growing outside your uterus. It usually occurs in our ovaries, fallopian tubes, and the tissue lining our pelvis. It rarely spreads outside the pelvic organs. The tissue also starts acting like the tissue that lines the inside of our uterus. It starts to thicken, break down, and bleed during the menstrual cycle causing excruciating pain for some women.

However, this tissue gets trapped inside our body with no way to exit. When it occurs in the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas could form. It causes more complications by irritating the tissue around it. It causes scar tissue and adhesions to develop. These adhesions or abnormal fibrous tissue can lead to the pelvic tissues and organs sticking to each other, according to Mayo Clinic.

Here are five symptoms of endometriosis:

1. Infertility

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Violeta Stoimenova

Sometimes, people are not able to figure out that they have endometriosis until they go in for a diagnosis when they can't conceive. This disorder can cause infertility and according to the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, up to 30% to 50% of women with endometriosis may experience infertility. It can make pregnancy harder in various ways. It could be because of "distorted anatomy of the pelvis, adhesions, scarred fallopian tubes, inflammation of the pelvic structures, altered immune system functioning, changes in the hormonal environment of the eggs, impaired implantation of a pregnancy, and altered egg quality."

2. Painful intercourse

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Domoyega

Dyspareunia or painful intercourse can occur in women with endometriosis. It is experienced as a sharp pain in the genital area or within the pelvis during sexual intercourse. The pain can occur before, during, or after sexual intercourse, according to Healthline. However, there are many things that can cause painful intercourse, including vaginismus, dryness because of menopause, pelvic inflammatory disease, and others. It is best to visit your gynecologist to get the correct diagnosis.

3. Pain during periods

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Thnathip Pha Tir Wat'hn / EyeEm

We may have felt dysmenorhhea or painful periods at least a few times in our lifetime. However, if you have pelvic pain, severe cramps that might be beginning before your periods and stays, as well as lower back and abdominal pain, it could be a sign of endometriosis. This disorder can cause a reduction in quality of life during reproductive age, according to a research paper published in the Journal of Medical Sciences. The pain can disrupt daily activities.

4. Pain with bowel movements or urination

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Yuttana Jaowattana / EyeEm

Those who have this disorder can experience pain during bowel movements or urination during their periods. Endometriosis also causes nausea, vomiting, lumbago, diarrhea, and headache, according to the paper published in the Journal of Medical Sciences.

5. Increased bleeding

Source: Getty Images | Photo by Iryna Naskova

We experience heavy flow during our periods from time to time but it could be a sign of endometriosis when coupled with the other symptoms as well. This disorder also causes bleeding between periods, according to Mayo Clinic.

Causes of endometriosis

Source: Illustration/ Shamik Das

Unfortunately, not enough research has been conducted to find the cause of this disorder but there are some theories, even though they haven't been scientifically proven. According to Healthline, the oldest theory is that the disorder occurs when menstrual blood flows back through the fallopian tubes into the pelvic cavity instead of exiting through the vagina. Another one is that hormones transform cells outside the uterus into cells similar to the endometrial cells inside the uterus.

While one claims that it occurs due to a faulty immune system that isn't able to kill the errant endometrial cells, yet another one is that the endometrial cells are carried out of the uterus through the lymphatic system.

Risk factors of endometriosis

As many as 2 to 10% of childbearing women in the United States between the ages of 25-40 have endometriosis, according to John Hopkins. It begins years after a woman hits puberty and knowing about the risk factors can help to cope with the symptoms.

The risk factors include age. Women between the age of 25 and 40 are at most risk for endometriosis. Family history also increases the chances of us having the disorder. Women who haven't had children are at a higher risk of having this disorder. However, pregnancy might only temporarily decrease the chances. Those of us who have had irregular periods with light and heavy flow, shorter cycles should also speak to their doctor, according to Healthline.

References: 

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656

https://www.reproductivefacts.org/news-and-publications/patient-fact-sheets-and-booklets/documents/fact-sheets-and-info-booklets/endometriosis-does-it-cause-infertility/#

https://www.healthline.com/health/endometriosis#symptoms

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3935015/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/conditions-and-diseases/endometriosis

Disclaimer : This article is for informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Recommended for you