How Long Can You Have Endometriosis Without Symptoms?

How Long Can You Have Endometriosis Without Symptoms?

Endometriosis affects about 11% of American women ages 15-44. It occurs when endometrial tissue, which typically lines the uterus, grows in places where it shouldn’t, such as the outside of the uterus and on other abdominal organs, such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, intestines, or bladder.

Women with endometriosis may experience pelvic pain, but approximately 20-25% of women with endometriosis are asymptomatic, which means they experience none of the common symptoms of endometriosis.

Unfortunately, women with no symptoms may go years without receiving a diagnosis for their endometriosis.

You may think that a diagnosis isn’t important if you have no endometriosis symptoms. After all, if you feel fine, what difference does it make if you have endometriosis, right?

Actually, it does matter. Endometriosis can make it more difficult for you to get pregnant, and it can worsen and lead to medical problems in the future.

Here at Virtuosa GYN in San Antonio, Texas, board-certified OB/GYN Susan Crockett, MD, and our team have extensive experience diagnosing and treating endometriosis. Dr. Crockett invites you to read on to learn more about asymptomatic endometriosis.

Endometriosis symptoms

We want you to be aware of the symptoms of endometriosis, because you may have mild symptoms that you attribute to something else.

For example, endometriosis can cause painful menstrual cramps and pain after sex. It can also contribute to intestinal pain, painful bowel movements, and gastrointestinal issues such as constipation, diarrhea, nausea, or bloating.

And endometriosis may be truly asymptomatic if you use hormonal contraception such as birth control pills or hormonal IUDs, because hormones can reduce endometriosis symptoms. In fact, hormonal contraception is one of treatment options for endometrial pain.

Women who use hormonal birth control sometimes begin experiencing endometrial symptoms after they come off this type of birth control.

Infertility and endometriosis

Sadly, some asymptomatic women don’t discover they have endometriosis until they try unsuccessfully for months or even years to become pregnant. In fact, roughly half of women with infertility may be affected by endometriosis.

Endometriosis may contribute to infertility by blocking the paths that eggs and sperm take, interfering with the normal action of the uterus and triggering immune system reactions that are harmful to an embryo.

Uncovering endometriosis in asymptomatic women

Endometriosis can be tricky to diagnose, especially in asymptomatic women. In fact, American women experience endometriosis for an average of about 10 years before receiving an accurate diagnosis.

That’s why you may benefit from seeing a care provider like Dr. Crockett, who has so much experience recognizing and diagnosing this condition.

Dr. Crockett and her team look for endometriosis by asking you about your symptoms, performing a thorough pelvic exam, and, if necessary, using diagnostic ultrasound to examine you. 

Dr. Crockett may also opt to perform a robotic examination of your pelvis and abdomen.

If Dr. Crockett finds endometriosis, she talks with you about your treatment options, which may include over-the-counter pain relievers, hormonal medications, or a type of minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery known as robotic excision of endometriosis.

To schedule an appointment with our care providers at Virtuosa GYN, contact us today at our San Antonio, Texas, office.

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