What is Endometriosis?

Gut-wrenching pain.  Do you experience overwhelming pain that often accompanies your monthly period?  Does the pain come and go, in between periods?  Is your menstrual cycle running less than 27 days?  The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with a woman’s menstrual period. Although many women may experience cramping during their menstrual period, women with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that’s far worse than usual, incapacitating even. They also tend to report that the pain increases over time.

Endometriosis is a painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows on the outside of it.  Endometriosis most commonly involves the ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining the pelvis. Rarely, endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs.

One can imagine the signals it’s sending to the brain, hey, what’s this tissue doing here, it doesn’t belong here!  With endometriosis, displaced endometrial tissue continues to act as it normally would — it thickens, breaks down and bleeds with each menstrual cycle. Because this displaced tissue has no way to exit your body, it becomes trapped. When endometriosis involves the ovaries, cysts called endometriomas may form. Surrounding tissue can become irritated, eventually developing scar tissue and adhesions — abnormal bands of fibrous tissue that can cause pelvic tissues and organs to stick to each other.  It causes pain – sometimes unbearable, especially during the menstrual cycle.  In some cases, infertility develops, however there are effective treatments available.

Other symptoms of Endometriosis are:

The level of pain or severity isn’t necessarily a reliable indicator of the extent of the condition. Some women with mild endometriosis have intense pain, while others with advanced endometriosis may have little pain or even no pain at all.

Endometriosis is sometimes mistaken for other conditions that can cause pelvic pain, such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or ovarian cysts. It may be confused with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), a condition that causes bouts of diarrhea, constipation and abdominal cramping. IBS can accompany endometriosis, which can complicate the diagnosis.

If you have signs and symptoms that may indicate endometriosis, schedule a consultation with Dr. Vyas or Dr. Leaphart.  Don’t wait – you will appreciate the peace of mind and advice you can only receive from a women’s health specialist.  702.852.3112.

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