Endometriosis can affect your day-to-day life, and it can even have an impact on your ability to become pregnant. Even though it’s a relatively common condition, with more than 10% of women of childbearing age affected, many women don’t realize they have it.
At Women’s Health Services’ two locations in Arlington, Texas, our highly qualified providers see women who have heavy periods or irregular periods due to endometriosis. Often, these patients just think that’s how their periods are. In this post, we describe some of the signs and symptoms of endometriosis.
1. It hurts
The one symptom that all women who have endometriosis share is pain. When you have endometriosis, the lining of your uterus, your endometrial lining, grows in places it shouldn’t outside your uterus. It may grow over your fallopian tubes, your ovaries, or around your pelvic walls.
During your menstrual cycle, your endometrial lining thickens, in anticipation of a fertilized egg implanting. If that doesn’t happen, during your period, your endometrial lining bleeds away. If it’s outside your uterus, there’s nowhere for it to go. The result is moderate to severe pain.
2. You have heavy periods
The medical name for heavy bleeding during your period is menorrhagia, and it’s a symptom of endometriosis. Because your endometrial lining can’t escape, it continues to thicken, and you bleed more. If you need to change your tampon or pad frequently or you bleed for a week or longer, you may want to talk to your doctor about endometriosis.
Not everyone who has endometriosis experiences heavy bleeding, though. It’s also possible to have heavy bleeding related to something else.
3. Sex is painful
If it hurts during or after having intercourse, it could be due to endometriosis. During penetrative sex, it’s possible that the endometrial tissue outside your uterus is stretched.
Some women with endometriosis develop adhesions, or scar tissue, which causes even more pain during sex.
4. You can’t get pregnant
Endometriosis is a leading cause of infertility. The endometrial lining is outside your uterus, where your egg can’t reach it. Additionally, the endometrial tissue can block your fallopian tubes or interrupt the release of eggs from your ovaries.
These are just a few of the ways endometriosis can impact your fertility. Often, women don’t realize they have endometriosis until they try to become pregnant and we begin to investigate why.
5. Gastrointestinal problems
If your endometrial lining reaches your intestines, you may develop digestion issues. Some people have bloating, gas, constipation, or diarrhea. If you have pain during bowel movements or when you urinate, especially during your period, endometriosis could be the reason.
If your endometrial lining begins to affect your bladder or bowels, it can be difficult to tell if your issue is a standalone gastrointestinal problem or if it’s related to endometriosis. If you have digestive issues and other symptoms on this list, you should discuss it with your doctor.
If you’d like to learn more about endometriosis, or you think you may have it, schedule an appointment via phone or online message with one of the experts at Women’s Health Services. We’re happy to discuss your particular situation.