Unfortunately, it can take up to ten years for a woman to be correctly diagnosed with endometriosis. In the meantime, she may be suffering from any or all of the following symptoms:
Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into a menstrual period
- Pelvic pain during the month
- Pain during or after sexual intercourse
- Pain during bowel movements or urination
- Excessive bleeding during your period
- Fertility issues
- Digestive related discomfort like diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during your period
So what is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue similar to the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus — the endometrium — grows outside your uterus. In most cases, this endometriosis lesions are found in the area of your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. In rare cases, endometrial tissue has been found in areas beyond the pelvic organs.
The endometrial-like tissue acts as endometrial tissue would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with the changing hormones of the menstrual cycle however this tissue has no way to leave your body so it stays stuck in your pelvic cavity.
When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.
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