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What is endometriosis?
Endometriosis is a condition which affects the female reproductive system, and in most cases will cause pelvic pain. This condition occurs when tissues similar to the endometrium tissue of the uterus grow in other places within the body. These tissues most commonly grow on the ovaries, bowel, rectum, bladder, surface of the uterus as well as the ligaments that attach the cervix and uterus to the base of the spine. Endometriosis may occur in other place of the body, including the lung, arm and thigh, however, the occurrence of endometriosis outside the abdominal and pelvic areas is rare.
The endometrium tissues within the uterus are those that are shed during menstruation. The tissues similar to those of the uterus behave in the same way, and are shed monthly as well. However, the bleeding that occurs as a result of menstruation will exit the body through the vagina – the blood that is shed by the tissues outside of the uterus have no where to go, and irritate their surrounding tissues, causing cysts, internal bleeding and the formation of scar tissue. Endometriosis can lead to chronic pelvic pain and infertility.
Women who experience endometriosis tend to have varying symptoms; however the condition tends to worsen over time without treatment. Common symptoms of endometriosis include:
- Pain During Menstruation – extreme pain before, after and during menstruation in the lower back and pelvis may be an indicator of endometriosis, especially of the pain increases over time
- Continuous Pain After Menstruation – pain that occurs during or after sex, seemingly within the intestines or during bowel movements and urination
- Infertility – Many women seeking help for infertility are diagnosed with endometriosis.
- Irregular or Heavy Bleeding – Experiencing heavy or irregular periods may indicate endometriosis, as well as spotting or bleeding between menstrual periods and diarrhea, constipation, bloating, or nausea, especially during menstrual periods