Endometriosis is a condition in which tissue that normally grows inside the uterus grows outside of it. Developing most commonly between the ages of 30-40, it affects more than 10% of American women of child-bearing age.
Although endometriosis is relatively common, many women don’t recognize its symptoms, or they attribute them to something else. Paul W. Morrison, M.D., wants patients at his Newburgh, Indiana, practice — which serves the Evansville area — to be able to recognize the signs and symptoms of endometriosis, so they can get the care they need as early as possible. Here are five of the most common signs to look for.
The uterine tissue growths that occur with endometriosis are called implants, and just like the tissue inside your uterus, the implants fluctuate with your hormone levels. That means when you get your period, the implants can swell and bleed just like the lining of your uterus.
These hormonal fluctuations can cause painful periods and painful symptoms in your lower belly and back. For many women, pain increases during the week prior to their periods as well.
As the implants grow, they can irritate other tissues, resulting in painful inflammation. Eventually, chronic inflammation can cause fibrous scar tissue to form, which is a condition called fibrosis. Tough scar tissue isn’t as flexible as surrounding tissue, which means you’ll be more likely to have pain during and after intercourse.
Sometimes, endometrial tissue can grow on the outer wall of the intestine or bladder. When that happens, inflammation in those areas can cause pain during bowel movements and urination, especially during periods.
As noted earlier, endometriosis implants can bleed just like the lining in your uterus. As your hormone levels change, these implants can cause bleeding between your normal periods and also increase the bleeding you experience during menstruation.
The inflammation caused by endometriosis can produce inflammatory proteins that can damage sperm and egg cells, which can make it much harder to conceive. Scar tissue may also interfere with conception by blocking the normal movement of eggs and sperm.
Endometriosis can cause stress, anxiety, and painful symptoms. Dr. Morrison is skilled in using both nonsurgical and surgical methods to relieve endometriosis symptoms. Furthermore, he can even help you get pregnant if that’s in your plans.
Women with mild endometriosis symptoms can often be treated using medication. These medicines treat the inflammation and relieve pain. Some medicines can help you manage your menstruation-related symptoms as well.
For women with many symptomatic implants or more severe symptoms, Dr. Morrison may recommend surgery. Depending on your needs, surgery may remove only the endometrial implants, or it may remove surrounding tissue as well.
It can be easy to get overwhelmed by a diagnosis of endometriosis, but the good news is it’s very treatable. The key is to seek treatment early, ideally when symptoms first begin to manifest.
To learn more about treating endometriosis, book an appointment online or over the phone with the practice of Paul W. Morrison, M.D. today.