What is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a chronic medical condition affecting young women at a reproductive age. It is a very painful condition, which usually ends with menopause. Endometriosis does not occur before puberty.
Endometriosis is a medical condition characterized by an implantation and development of the endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, where it normally should be located. There are two types of endometriosis, depending from the location and development of the endometrial tissue. If the endometrial tissue develops outside of the uterus, in various parts of the pelvis and abdomen it is known as external endometriosis. However, if the endometrial tissue develops inside of the uterus, in the myometrium, it is known as internal endometriosis.
It has been estimated that some women are at a higher risk of developing endometriosis than others.
Some of the risk factors include:
- Never giving birth
- Periods longer than seven days
- Menstrual cycles shorter than 28 days
- Menstrual periods before 12-years-old
- A family history of endometriosis
Signs and Symptoms of Endometriosis
The signs and symptoms of endometriosis are different in every woman, as it all depends on the localization of the endometrial tissue. The severity of the signs and symptoms does not always correspond to the amount of endometrial tissue outside of the uterus, but to their localization. Just before and during the menstrual periods, the signs and symptoms of endometriosis tend to get worse.
The most common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Irregular menstrual periods
- Heavy and painful menstrual periods
- Painful during and after sexual intercourse
- Painful bowel movements
In general, endometrial tissue can develop in every organ of the human body. Signs and symptoms will normally depend from the localization of the endometrial tissue and the affected organ. Some women, however, have no signs and symptoms at all, even though they have endometriosis. In these cases, endometriosis is diagnosed when looking for infertility causes.
When endometriosis affects the bladder, a frequent need to urinate, blood in the urine, and bladder irritation will occur. When endometriosis affects the bowels, painful bowel movements, rectal bleeding during menstrual periods, an alteration of diarrhea, and constipation, as well as deep pelvic pain while having sexual intercourse are common.
Endometriosis is a chronic condition, and the biggest concern when diagnosed with endometriosis is fertility. Women diagnosed with endometriosis have an increased risk of infertility.