Endometriosis affects over 5 million women in North America. The disease is caused by the endometrial cells, or the cells of the uterus, abnormally growing in inappropriate areas of the body. The tissue acts just like the normal uterus, shedding the lining every month. Depending on the location of the abnormal tissue, this can cause massive scarring and bleeding through the body.
Endometrial tissue is commonly found in the reproductive organs, such as on the outside of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, and the ovaries. It can spread to other internal organs, such as the intestines and bladder. If the tissue affects the lymphatic system, it can grow across the entire body.
The only definitive test to confirm a diagnosis of endometriosis is through laparoscopy. Treatment of endometriosis include hormonal medications like birth control, pain killers, and surgery.
Here are 11 common symptoms of endometriosis. If you believe you may have endometriosis, contact your doctor as the long term effects can be devastating.
1. Painful Menstruation
One of the most common symptoms of endometriosis is painful menstruation. This pain can start one week before ovulation and continue until one week after the end of menstruation. The pain may be a constant discomfort, or it can cause cramping. The cramping pain may radiate and come in waves. Over the counter pain medication is a good treatment option for painful menstruation. There are specialty medications specifically made for menstruation pain that include a mild muscle relaxant.