Your uterus is lined with a type of tissue known as endometrial tissue. This tissue is supposed to grow only within your uterus. But in women with endometriosis, endometrial tissue develops outside your uterus, in such places as your ovaries, fallopian tubes, bladder, or even your intestines.
At Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, Susan Crockett, MD, and our team specialize in diagnosing and treating endometriosis. We would like to explain some common endometriosis symptoms, so you can take action if any of these symptoms are affecting you.
Endometriosis is a fairly common condition, affecting about 10% of women of reproductive age. But many women don't realize they have endometriosis until they reach their 30s or even their 40s.
Why does endometriosis go undiscovered for so long? One reason is that it may not cause noticeable symptoms in younger women. Another is that in some women, it causes few or no symptoms at all. When it does cause symptoms, they may include:
Endometriosis can cause pain in the pelvic region, which is the area between the bottom of your ribs and the top of your thighs. Pelvic pain related to endometriosis can be especially uncomfortable during the days before and during your period.
When you have endometriosis, sexual intercourse can cause flares of pain during or after penetration.
In some women, endometrial tissue grows in the urinary tract (bladder and ureters, which are the tubes through which urine flows from the kidneys to the bladder) or the intestines (bowels).
As a result, it may lead to pain or discomfort when you urinate or pass a bowel movement. Endometriosis may also cause bloating, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, or other gastrointestinal symptoms.
Excess endometrial tissue can cause additional bleeding during your periods. Periods are considered heavy if you're soaking through a pad or tampon every hour for more than a few hours, if your periods last more than seven days, or if the heaviness of your bleeding leads to accidents or interferes with your everyday life.
Endometriosis can interfere with your ability to get pregnant. In fact, for some women, the first sign of endometriosis is not being able to conceive when they want to.
Endometriosis can cause inflammation, scarring, and tissue buildup that can damage your eggs or make it difficult for eggs to move through your fallopian tubes.
Virtuosa GYN offers a variety of treatment options for endometriosis. In some cases, over-the-counter pain relievers provide enough relief. Other treatments include hormonal medicines or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery such as endometrial ablation.
Whenever possible, our providers offer fertility-sparing treatments that give you time to complete your family.
If you're experiencing these or any other symptoms, Dr. Crockett and our team of care providers are here to help. We work with you to evaluate your symptoms and create a personalized treatment plan for any condition, including endometriosis, that may be affecting you.
To schedule an appointment, contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office.