What Is Endometriosis and Do I Have It? Common Endometriosis Symptoms
“Having severe period pain is normal” One of the biggest LIES you’ve ever been told. In this blog post I’ll share the most common signs and symptoms of endometriosis so you can discover if the symptoms you’re having are normal or if they are related to endometriosis. We touch on chronic severe pelvic pain, severe period pain, pain with sex, nerve pain, and bowel / GI symptoms.
What Is Endometriosis?
Endometriosis is not just painful periods. Endometriosis is a full body inflammatory disease with an immune component. The endometriosis lesions are similar to the tissue that lines the uterus, however, they are outside of the uterus. The lesions are hormone sensitive and respond to the hormones of the menstrual cycle, but, endometriosis is not caused by excess estrogen! Click here to read more about endometriosis
How to Know If You Have Endometriosis. Endometriosis Symptom #1: Severe Pelvic Pain
Pain is one of the main symptoms of endometriosis, however, not all women who have endometriosis have pain. Some women experience pain only during their menstrual cycle, other women experience pain all of the time, other women experience relatively pain free periods but have debilitating pain between their periods.
Severe pelvic pain is NOT normal.
Having searing, throbbing, stabbing pain that knocks you to your knees, induces vomiting, and makes it impossible to function throughout the day IS NOT NORMAL! The truth is that any kind of pelvic pain that is not relieved by ibuprofen, diet, or supplements is NOT NORMAL!
It’s also important to note that the stage of endometriosis does not dictate how severe the pain will be. Some women with stage 4 (the highest) endometriosis have little to no pain whereas a woman with stage 1 can have debilitating pain.
That is why, if you have any pelvic pain that is not relieved by ibuprofen that you should talk to your doctor about the possibility of having endometriosis.
How to Know If You Have Endometriosis. Endometriosis Symptom #2: Pain with Sex
Painful intercourse is an extremely common symptom of endometriosis. The pain can occur during insertion, in any position, only in some positions, after orgasm, after sex, only during certain times of the month, and/or only during deep penetration. The experience is different for each woman, and not all women experience pain with sex.
The pain can range from relatively mild to excruciating. The pain and cramping afterwards can sometimes last for days.
Seckin MD says that pain during sex can be caused by the endometriosis lesions being pulled and pushed, it can be caused by vaginal dryness, and even caused by tightening of the pelvic floor muscles.
Pain during sex can be one of the first signs of endometriosis so it is extremely important that you talk to your doctor about this type of pain if you experience it.
How to Know If You Have Endometriosis. Endometriosis Symptom #3: Severe Period Pain
One of the biggest lies we as women have been told is that severe period pain is normal. Period pain is common, so we are taught to believe that any kind of pain with our periods is normal.
This is a lie.
Normal Period Pain
“Normal” period pain should not be so severe it interrupts your daily life. It should not prevent you from going about your day normally, and it should disappear or improve with ibuprofen, diet, and supplements.
Normal period pain feels like a bit of uterine cramping that can be relieved with a heat pad and ibuprofen. You will still be able to complete your daily tasks and the pain will not be severe enough to interrupt your day.
Severe Period Pain
Severe period pain is stabbing, aching, throbbing, searing pelvic pain that happens during your period but also can happen between periods. The pain will not even be touched by ibuprofen. The pain can sometimes lead to vomiting or passing out. It can be so bad you have to miss school or call out of work. It will interrupt your daily life and make it hard and sometimes impossible to complete simple tasks.
If you have severe period pain, that is a sign that you might have an underlying condition such as endometriosis, adenomyosis, or pelvic floor dysfunction and that you should talk to your doctor.
How to Know If You Have Endometriosis. Endometriosis Symptom #4: Gastrointestinal Issues & Distress
Many women with endometriosis experience gastrointestinal issues and distress. This can be characterized by bloating, gassiness, diarrhea, constipation, nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, and even painful bowel movements.
Endometriosis is often misdiagnosed as IBS because so many of the symptoms overlap. These symptoms can be caused by endometriosis on or around the bowel/rectum/stomach and also by peritoneal inflammation.
If you are experiencing any GI issues or distress and you have other symptoms such as severe pelvic pain etc. talk to your doctor about the possibility of having endometriosis.
How to Know If You Have Endometriosis. Endometriosis Symptom #5: Neuropathy
Having vagina/vulva/rectum pain, low back pain, hip pain, inner thigh pain, or pain that radiates along the sciatica can be a sign of endometriosis on your pelvic nerves.
This type of pain can be caused by endometriosis lesions infiltrating the nerves in the pelvis, it can occur as a result of inflammation throughout the pelvis, or because of endometriosis lesions and/or adhesions that are adjacent to the pelvic nerves putting pressure on them.
If you have this type of pain, talk to your doctor about the possibility of having endometriosis.
It’s important to note that there are only a handful of surgeons in the world with the advanced skills needed to perform endometriosis removal from nerves. Because nerves cannot safely undergo excision surgery, a different technique is required to remove the endometriosis lesion from the nerve while not damaging the nerve! Definitely do your research to make sure your surgeon is capable of performing such a delicate surgery! Check out more info on endometriosis on the nerves here
There you have it! Some of the most common signs and symptoms of endometriosis!
Tell me about you! Which symptoms are you experiencing? Do you have endometriosis?
Chelsea Blackburn | Endometriosis Blogger & Podcaster
P.S. Be sure to join my Free Endometriosis Support Community! Join here
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