Women's Health

What Causes Endometriosis? Is It Endometriosis or Just My Period?

What Causes Endometriosis? Is It Endometriosis or Just My Period?

Key Takeaways

  • The symptoms of endometriosis are very similar to the symptoms of heavy periods.
  • There are many women who confuse the symptoms they experience during their periods for symptoms of endometriosis and vice versa.
  • What women need to watch out for is the occurrence of vomiting, abnormal bowel movements, chronic and debilitating pain, and bloating along with menstrual cramps.

Many women have a difficult time during their periods, and sometimes, some may confuse painful symptoms they are experiencing for simply being part and parcel of women's normal menstrual woes without suspecting that the symptoms might be due to an aggressive form of endometriosis. Endometriosis can affect women of all ages, even teenage girls who are in their early reproductive years.

Endometriosis is often mistaken for periods, so much so that many omen experience endometriosis and chalk up the experience to menstrual periods.

Endometriosis Triggers

The exact cause of endometriosis is still unknown, but there are a number of health problems that may trigger the condition:

-          Retrograde menstrual periods – In this case, the menstrual blood includes a number of endometrial cells that can get into the fallopian tubes and pelvic cavity, and the cells stick there. This may cause irregular bleeding, pain, and discomfort. Therefore, if you find yourself experiencing irregular bleeding and pain, along with causing you to experience discomfort, then you need to make an appointment with your gynecologist and get yourself diagnosed and treated right away.

-          Scars from surgeries – Scars from surgeries, especially those from hysterectomies and C-sections, can act as triggers. Endometrial cells can attach to the scars and wounds and cause endometriosis. If you have undergone hysterectomies and C sections in the past and are currently experiencing abnormal bleeding along with menstrual cramps during your periods, then chances are high that you may be suffering from endometriosis. Consult your doctor right away so that he can provide you with an accurate diagnosis and treatment for your current condition and help relieve you of some of the symptoms associated with it.

-          Transport of endometrial cells throughout the whole body – Endometrial cells can be transported to other organs in the body through blood vessels or with lymphatic fluid. Endometriosis doesn’t affect only the reproductive organs, and the transport of endometrial cells is the reason why it can spread to other organs, such as the bladder, intestines, vagina, and rectum. This is why it is vital that you get yourself checked out completely for an accurate diagnosis and treatment right away. Therefore, consult your doctor and get the tests done to help determine whether or not you are suffering from endometriosis, and treat the same before it can start affecting other major organs in your body.

-          Problems with the immune system – If the immune response of your body is very low, there is a good chance that you can develop endometriosis. Go to your doctor immediately if you have problems with your immune system and experience any symptom of endometriosis. It is vital that you consult your doctor immediately so that he can prescribe the right treatment for your current condition. Moreover, with a weakened immune system, chances are high that endometriosis may spread more rapidly to other parts of your body. So get yourself checked out today before it starts affecting other major organs in your body.

Risk Factors

There are several risk factors that increase the chances of being diagnosed with endometriosis:

-          Never having gotten pregnant and given birth – Statistically, endometriosis is more common in women that have never given birth than when the woman has had at least one child. If you have not given birth, then chances are high that you will experience endometriosis.  If you find yourself experiencing some of the symptoms of endometriosis, then you need to consult your doctor right away for a speedy diagnosis and speedy treatment. It is vital that you schedule an appointment with your doctor at the earliest, as endometriosis is known for its proclivity to spread to other major organs of your body.

-          Genetic predisposition – When a woman has one or more female relatives (mother, sister, or daughter) who have the same or some similar condition, the risk is higher. In short, if the women in your family have a history of endometriosis, then chances are high that you could suffer from the same condition. It is better that you visit your gynecologist and get yourself checked out regularly, given your genetic predisposition to endometriosis.

-          Any medical or gynecological condition that resulted in irregular periods - For example, many women with endometriosis also have polycystic ovarian syndrome. Therefore, if you are currently suffering from a certain gynecological condition, then this can also result in endometriosis. Make sure that you visit your gynecologist regularly, and get yourself checked out. Remember to provide your doctor with your complete medical history, as it can help you to get your condition treated right away.

-          Abnormalities of the uterus and pelvic cavity - If you have an abnormal pelvic cavity, then chances are high that you may also suffer from endometriosis. Therefore, make sure that you go in for regular checkups with your doctor, and confirm if you have endometriosis. Upon confirmation of the diagnosis, get the same treated right away, since, if left untreated, endometriosis can spread to other parts of your body and even impact the major organs in your body.

Women diagnosed with endometriosis are more likely to become infertile or develop some form of cancer of the reproductive organs. The symptoms of endometriosis are very similar to the symptoms of heavy periods. Many women have a really hard time before, during, and after their periods. They feel pain in the pelvis, lower abdomen, and ovaries.

On one hand, the symptoms of heavy menstrual periods can be misdiagnosed as endometriosis. On the other hand, it doesn’t mean that if you have endometriosis (and don’t know about it), you will immediately be able to recognize it after experiencing the symptoms for the first time. The procedure of diagnosing and treating endometriosis can be very long and difficult for both doctors and patients.

This is why it makes sense for you to consult a specialist right away and to get yourself tested to see if you are indeed suffering from endometriosis.

Living with endometriosis can be very stressful, not only for the person who is diagnosed with the disease, but also for her family and friends. The woman diagnosed with endometriosis has to cope with emotional and physical health problems at the same time.

Her periods may become irregular, especially if the endometriosis affects the uterus, ovaries, and fallopian tubes. Moreover, women with endometriosis may experience early menopause symptoms. As if that’s not enough, the woman in question can also experience severe health complications as a result of endometriosis, since it can spread to other major organs in your body, even affecting your immune system.

All this can have a physical and psychological impact on the woman, since she would have to grapple with her health condition and the changes to her lifestyle, as well as the impact on all those near and close to her.

The diagnosis of endometriosis is most often made during the fertile and menstruating phase of women; however, there are some women (about 5%) who are diagnosed with the condition after menopause. In such cases, it is presumed that the condition had been triggered by estrogen treatment. There are many women who confuse the symptoms they experience during their periods for symptoms of endometriosis and vice versa.

This has been one of the problems in the diagnosis of endometriosis. This is why you may want to consult a specialist right away for speedy diagnosis, and make sure that you provide the specialist with your complete medical history, as well as the fact whether or not you are genetically predisposed to get endometriosis.

Many girls with endometriosis are not able to detect the symptoms, because they assume from the stories and advice of their friends and family members that menstrual cramps and pain are normal. While it may be true in most cases, this leads to cases of endometriosis not being diagnosed earlier when it could have.

A young woman with endometriosis learns to suppress the pain with medications by the time they enter college; however, additional problems arise later, such as when she experiences extreme pain during sexual intercourse. This is the point at which many girls consult a doctor and are diagnosed with the condition.

To avoid suffering the consequences of not recognizing endometriosis, what any girl or woman needs to watch out for is the occurrence of vomiting, abnormal bowel movements, chronic and debilitating pain, and bloating along with menstrual cramps. If these symptoms occur, then it is vital to consult a gynecologist immediately.

It is important that you remain aware of all the symptoms of endometriosis so that you are able to identify it should you suffer from the same. Therefore, if you experience any of the above symptoms, get yourself checked out completely to see if you have endometriosis. Remember that endometriosis, if left untreated, can pass on to other parts of your body and start impacting your overall health.

Infertility is one of the most common outcomes or consequences of a woman's ignoring of her endometriosis or leaving the condition untreated or inappropriately-treated by taking the wrong medication. Apart from infertility, untreated or improperly-treated, endometriosis can also trigger ovarian cancer in some women.

Remember to schedule regular visits with your gynecologist, and get pap smears done on a regular basis. If you do not take corrective action and get the condition treated right away, then it will spread to other parts of your body, and in turn, it can cause severe health complications, including cancer.

It is very difficult to manage endometriosis once it reaches the later stages. However, if diagnosed early enough, this condition can be treated properly with fewer cases of hysterectomies and infertility resulting from it.

A woman should differentiate between the symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome (diarrhea, constipation, and abdominal pain) and those of endometriosis by understanding that these symptoms get worse during menstruation, suggesting that there could be endometrial growth.

While it is vital that you visit your doctor and get the same diagnosed early on to get it treated right away, there are a few things you can do to help speed up the diagnosis. Make a list of all the symptoms you experience during your periods, and later on, share the same with your doctor, as it can help him to diagnose your condition quickly.

A speedy diagnosis is important, as it can provide you with effective treatment and help prevent endometriosis from affecting other parts of your body and overall health.

It is very important for women diagnosed with endometriosis to keep their relationships with other people healthy. They are their biggest emotional and mental support, and every sick person needs these kinds of support very much. Endometriosis can have a bad impact on the sexual life of a woman, because intercourse may be very painful.

This is why the partners (boyfriend, spouse, or husband) of women who have been diagnosed with endometriosis need to be very supportive of them. Endometriosis is not an easy condition to live with, and every hug or word of love means a lot to the women who have it.

Therefore, make sure that you are completely upfront regarding your health with your spouse and partner, and even take them along with you during your consultations with the specialist, since he can help to explain your current condition better to your life partner. It is important that your partner understands the seriousness of your current condition and the overall impact it can have on your health.

He also needs to understand that, at times, you may not be able to function well due to your current condition and that you need his emotional support. Therefore, it is vital that you are completely upfront regarding your health with your life partner and that it may also mean that you would not be able to have sexual intercourse at regular intervals.

One should understand that endometriosis can occur in any woman at any age. This makes it extremely important to teach young girls to understand menstruation and endometriosis. This would greatly help women to recognize the condition as early as possible so that it can be treated as its manifestation begins, i.e., during the teenage years.

This can help in the effective management and treatment of endometriosis. This is why it is important for you to consult your gynecologist at the earliest, rather than opt for OTC medications.