More than 5.5 million women in America have symptoms of endometriosis. This condition is most commonly found in women in their 30’s and 40’s. Endometriosis affects women in their reproductive years, and is one of the leading causes of pelvic pain. The exact prevalence of endometriosis is unknown since many women may have the condition and have no symptoms.
So what is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is often a painful disorder where the tissue that normally lines the inside of your uterus grows outside your uterus. This displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would—it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Since this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. Cysts called endometriomas may form, and surrounding tissue can become irritated and eventually develop scar tissue and adhesions. Endometriosis can cause pain especially during your period. The pain may be severe and fertility problems may also develop.
Why is Endometriosis associated with fertility?
Around 20-40% of women with infertility have endometriosis. It seems to impair fertility in 2 different ways:
- Endometriosis causes distortion of the fallopian tubes so they are unable to pick up the egg after ovulation
- Endometriosis creates inflammation that can adversely affect the function of the ovary, egg, fallopian tubes or uterus
What are the symptoms of endometriosis?
The most common symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain and is often associated with your menstrual period. Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis may include:
- Very painful menstrual cramps
- Chronic pain in the pelvis and lower back
- Pain during or after sex
- Intestinal pain
- Painful bowel movements or painful urination during menstrual periods
- Chronic fatigue
- Lower abdominal pain
- Blood in the urine
Fortunately, effective treatments are available for endometriosis. If you think you may have endometriosis, your doctor at My OBGyne will work with you one-on-one to make sure that you understand all of the options available to you and your best course of endometriosis treatment while protecting your future health. Schedule an appointment with one of our experienced physicians today.