An estimated 1 in 10 women between the ages of 15 to 49 are affected by endometriosis–a painful condition in which the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus (the endometrium) grows outside your uterus.
Endometriosis commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis, and rarely spreads beyond the pelvic organs.
The most common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Painful periods
- Pain with intercourse
- Pain with bowel movements or urination
- Excessive bleeding during or between periods
Other symptoms that may occur particularly during menstrual periods include fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea.
Endometriosis shares similar symptoms with other conditions that can cause pelvic pain and may be mistaken for pelvic inflammatory disease, ovarian cysts or even irritable bowel syndrome.
At this time, the cause of endometriosis is still unknown, but there are several factors that may increase a woman’s likelihood of developing the disorder including:
- Never giving birth
- Starting your period at an early age
- Going through menopause at an older age
- Short menstrual cycles — for instance, less than 27 days
- Having higher levels of estrogen in your body
- Low body mass index
- Alcohol consumption
- One or more relatives (mother, aunt or sister) with endometriosis
- Any medical condition that prevents the normal passage of menstrual flow out of the body
- Uterine abnormalities
An estimated 30-50% of women with endometriosis experience difficulty getting pregnant, and in many cases the disorder is first diagnosed when women seek infertility treatment.
Unfortunately, there is no known cure for endometriosis and managing the condition can be challenging. However, lifestyle changes, hormonal treatments and/or laparoscopic surgery may help relieve symptoms and improve your quality of life. If you are experiencing any of the above symptoms or think you may be suffering from endometriosis, call GreenValley OB/GYN at (336) 378-1110 to schedule an appointment as soon as possible. An early diagnosis may improve your treatment results.