Endometriosis is often a painful disorder that develops when endometrial tissue

The endometrium grows outside the uterus on the lining of the abdomen, ovaries, and fallopian tubes.  It may also grow on the outer surface of the uterus, bladder, ureters, intestines, and rectum.

Because this 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.

The primary symptom of endometriosis is pelvic pain, often associated with menstrual periods. Although many experience cramping during their menstrual periods, those with endometriosis typically describe menstrual pain that’s far worse than usual. Pain also may increase over time.

Common signs and symptoms of endometriosis include:

  • Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before and extend several days into a menstrual period. You may also have lower back and abdominal pain.
  • Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is common with endometriosis.
  • Pain with bowel movements or urination. You’re most likely to experience these symptoms during a menstrual period.
  • Excessive bleeding. You may experience occasional heavy menstrual periods or bleeding between periods (intermenstrual bleeding).
  • Sometimes, endometriosis is first diagnosed in those seeking treatment for infertility.
  • Other signs and symptoms. You may experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

The main complication of endometriosis is impaired fertility. Approximately one-third to one-half of women with endometriosis have difficulty getting pregnant. The physicians at OBGYN Associates of Des Moines are experts at diagnosing and treating endometriosis, so please don’t wait until the problem is severe, please call us today for an appointment.

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