An Inside Look at Endometriosis, Its Symptoms, and Possible Causes

Endometriosis is a common health problem in the United States, making it the third leading cause of medical attention for gynecological conditions. Endometriosis in Boynton Beach affects 2-5% of postmenopausal women and 5-15% in women aged 15 to 44. Some patients with this problem are asymptomatic, meaning you can have endometriosis and exhibit no signs and symptoms; however, you may also present symptoms that include excessive bleeding during periods, pain during sexual intercourse, and painful bowel movements. Fortunately, your doctor can diagnose and recommend treatment to improve your condition.

What Is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis is a gynecological problem where tissue similar to that lining the endometrium – the lining of the uterus, grows outside the uterus into other organs, including the fallopian tube, ovaries, the tissue lining the pelvis. Just the tissue lining the uterus, the endometrial-like tissue thickens, shreds and bleeds during your menstrual period. However, it gets trapped in the pelvis and remains inside your body since it has no exit. Due to the hormonal changes affecting the endometrial-like tissue, you may experience pain and inflammation. The trapped tissue may, in turn, cause scar formation, irritation, fertility problems, and intense pain during your menstrual periods.

What Are the Symptoms of Endometriosis?

The symptoms of endometriosis vary from person to person, with some women having mild symptoms and others moderate to severe. However, the severity of your pain does not translate to the severity of your condition, as it is possible to have mild pain with advanced endometriosis. Pelvic pain is the primary symptom for patients with endometriosis, which mainly occurs during menstrual periods. While cramping is common in women during periods, women with endometriosis experience more intense pain than usual, which worsens with time. If you have endometriosis, you may experience signs and symptoms that include:

  •         Dysmenorrhea or painful periods. Women with this condition experience cramping and pelvic pain before the menstrual cycle, which progresses days into the period. Pain in the lower back and abdominal pain are also symptoms of endometriosis.
  •         Intermenstrual bleeding or occasional heavy bleeding during your menstrual cycle.
  •         Pain and discomfort during and after sexual intercourse.
  •         Pain when urinating, especially during a menstrual period.
  •         Nausea, bloating, diarrhea, fatigue, and constipation during the menstrual cycle.

What Causes Endometriosis?

While there are no specific or established causes for endometriosis, this problem can develop due to the following:

  •       Surgical scar implantation- Endometrial cells may attach to surgical sites during procedures like C-sections or hysterectomy.
  •       Embryonic cell transformation- This happens when the estrogen hormone transforms embryonic cells into endometrial-like cells during puberty.
  •       Immune system disorder- Abnormalities in your immune system may make you unable to recognize and get rid of endometrial-like tissue.
  •         Retrograde menstruation- Here, instead of menstrual blood flowing out of the body, it flows back into the pelvic cavity and fallopian tubes, causing endometrial cells to stick on pelvic walls and surfaces where they grow and thicken.
  •       Transformation of peritoneal cells-  Hormones or immune factors in your body can transform peritoneal cells into endometrial-like cells, resulting in endometriosis.

For further inquiries about the treatment of endometriosis, schedule an appointment with your doctor at MyDoc Women’s Health Specialists.