Gynecological conditions such as endometriosis affect hundreds of thousands of women every year. While cramping is common during menstrual periods, women with endometriosis experience excruciating pain, gradually increasing over time. However, the intensity of your pain does not determine the severity of your condition, as you could have severe pain on the onset stages of endometriosis or mild pain during advanced stages. A regular medical check-up at your trusted fertility clinic in New York can help determine the presence of endometriosis, as this condition can mimic the symptoms of other health problems, including irritable bowel syndrome and pelvic inflammatory disease.
What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a medical condition that occurs when tissue similar to the uterus lining develops outside the uterus onto other reproductive organs like the fallopian tube, ovaries, and tissue lining the pelvis. The endometrium – uterus lining, naturally sheds off each month during the menstrual cycle. As this occurs, the growth outside the uterus similarly builds up and breaks down, resulting in bleeding. Most women with this condition experience intense pain during their menstrual periods and risk fertility problems. Below are other common signs and symptoms that women with endometriosis may have.
Signs and symptoms of endometriosis
Symptoms of endometriosis are different for each woman as some may exhibit no symptoms. The symptoms of this gynecological problem include:
- Bleeding between periods and passing excess blood during your menstrual periods.
- Pain and discomfort during sexual intercourse or after.
- Intense pain during your menstrual periods accompanied by pelvic pain. Some women may also have pain in their lower back or abdominal area.
- Gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, diarrhea, and constipation, typical during menstrual periods.
What causes endometriosis?
While there is no established cause for endometriosis, here are some of the possible causes of this condition.
- Transformation of the embryonic cells – cells present during the earliest stages of development which may be due to hormones such as estrogen.
- Retrograde menstruation or unusual blood flow with endometrial cells back into the pelvic cavity through the fallopian tubes. The cells eventually attach to the pelvic walls and surfaces of the pelvic organs, including ovaries and fallopian tubes, and build time over time. As with each menstrual cycle, the tissue bleeds over.
Risk factors for endometriosis
The risk factors associated with endometriosis include:
Immune system disorders
Women with immune system disorders are at a higher risk of endometriosis as their immune system may fail to recognize foreign tissue resulting in implantation in the wrong areas. Endometrial-like tissue on your ovaries may cause lesions and scarring.
Short menstrual cycles
Having a short menstrual cycle of fewer than 27 days increases your risk of endometriosis. Women with periods that last up to seven days or more also have high chances of this condition and girls who start their periods under 12.
You are at a higher risk of developing endometriosis if you have relatives on both your maternal or paternal sides with the same conditions.
If your menstrual periods are heavy and accompanied by intense cramping, a consultation appointment with your doctor at New York Fertility Institute is the first step to treatment and establish if endometriosis is the source of your symptoms.