Endometriosis

pelvic pain hurtsThe primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with your menstrual period. According to this article in Wikipedia it is considered to be is a gynecological condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus (endometrium) appear and flourish outside the uterine cavity, most commonly on the membrane which lines the abdominal cavity, the peritoneum. 

Although many women experience cramping during their menstrual period, women with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that’s far worse than usual. They also tend to report that the pain has increased over time.

Lesions are formed and cause irritation and inflammation to the tissue and organs that surround them. Scar tissue forming around the lesions can result in adhesions that stick the pelvic organs together. These adhesions can mean that the stuck together organs are unable to move freely, making movements such as ovulation, sexual intercourse or going to the toilet painful. Over time, the endometrial lesions on the ovaries may enlarge and form cysts. 

The lesions can cause referred pain, called trigger points. These are specific areas of tenderness on the muscle wall of the abdomen.

Pain mapping is very useful for finding the sources of pain caused by endometriosis. It can clearly show the trigger points and tender areas in the uterus, ovaries, bladder or peritoneum. Pain mapping also helps to assess pain that is caused by something other than endometriosis (adhesions, cysts, hernias, irritable bowel syndrome, and interstitial cystitis).

We have nerves that carry signals from the internal organs through the spinal cord to the brain. The nerves connect to the spinal cord at the same place as other nerves which carry signals from our skin and muscles. When endometriosis is not treated, the nerves may be stimulated over a long period of time. As a result, some of the pain sensation can “spill over” and be felt in the muscles and skin (referred pain).

Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis may include:

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into your period and may include lower back and abdominal pain.
  • Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is common with endometriosis.
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination. Most likely to experience these symptoms during your period.
  • Excessive bleeding. You may experience occasional heavy periods or bleeding between periods 
  • Infertility. Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.
  • Other symptoms. You may also experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

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.

Endometriosis and Diet  – By Julie Davis | Medically reviewed by Lindsey Marcellin, MD, MPH

Endometriosis and Essential Oils  by Jess Ring at Ring Botanicals

Endometriosis Resolved – Guidance and Support for Sufferers

Preparing for Pelvic Floor Exam  – Dr. Sallie Sarrel let’s you know what to expect

Endometriosis Support Groups 

Physical Therapy is an Effective Treatment for Endometriosis – well worth reading