What are the main symptoms of endometriosis?
Severe menstrual cramps, abnormal or heavy flow and pain during sexual intercourse are the most common symptoms of endometriosis. Some women can have sickness or diarrhoea, and in some cases, constipation is another symptom of endometriosis.
The condition is caused by tissue growing in areas of the body such as the ovaries and fallopian tubes. This tissue is shed each month in addition to shedding the lining of the womb which happens as part of the menstrual cycle. Endometriosis can also occur in other places such as the outside of the uterus, in the pelvic cavity and in the bladder.
Some women who suffer from endometriosis are severely affected by the symptoms and it impacts their life in a major way. As well as the physical effects, people can suffer from depression as a result of endometriosis.
When to see a GP
Some treatments can help to relieve the symptoms of endometriosis so if you are suffering from the symptoms to the extent that it is largely impacting your life, you should see your GP.
Your GP will ask you some questions about your symptoms and may inspect your tummy or refer you to a gynaecologist for tests. The tests will usually involve an ultrasound scan or a laparoscopy, which involves inserting a tiny tube through a cut in your stomach to look for endometriosis tissue.
Your GP or gynaecologist may suggest taking hormone medicines or contraceptives, or in some cases, surgery to remove endometriosis tissue could be effective in reducing symptoms. Surgery is often recommended for women who are trying to get pregnant as this can improve the chances of pregnancy.
For many women, endometriosis is genetic and runs in families, so if your mother, sister or grandmother suffered from it, there is a high possibility that the pains you feel are down to the same condition. Studies show it is more common in women who are giving birth after the age of 30 as well.
Living with endometriosis can be much more comfortable once you have a diagnosis and you can rule out other potential causes behind the symptoms. If your life is being affected by debilitating cramps and heavy periods, or you suffer from depression during your menstrual cycle, then seeing a GP could help you to live a more comfortable life.
Anyone who is either struggling to become pregnant or who has some of these typical symptoms and is hoping to start a family at some point should also get checked as early as possible, to help to improve the chances of becoming pregnant in the future.
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Please Note: We at Imaara do not have a medical background. If you are concerned by anything you have read in this article, then please contact your local GP for medical advice.