Endometriosis is a condition that occurs when womb-like tissue grows in places such as the fallopian tubes and ovaries. The condition can cause many different symptoms which can be quite uncomfortable and painful. In some cases, it might require surgical treatment to correct. Endometriosis can lead to a range of symptoms.

What is Endometriosis?

Endometriosis refers to an abnormal growth of endometrial tissue similar to that which lines the uterus interior. However, it develops in a location outside of the uterus. The tissue is shed each month during your period. Endometrial tissue that is found in ectopic locations such as the fallopian tubes, ovaries, bowel, uterus surface and the pelvic cavity membrane lining is known as endometrial implants. They may also be found in the bladder, vagina, and cervix, although this is less common. In rarer cases, endometriosis may occur outside of the pelvic area, and has been reported to be found in the lungs, liver, and even the brain.

Painful Periods

While this is one of the most common symptoms of endometriosis, it can occur without the underlying condition. If you have period pain without any of the other symptoms, then it is unlikely to be caused by this condition. However, severe period pains occur due to the increased inflammation that is a result of endometriosis. It is often worsened by the presence of other conditions that often coexist with endometriosis, such as adenomyosis. If you are experiencing painful periods, a consultant gynaecologist can perform an examination and tests to determine if endometriosis is the cause. You can find a private gynaecologist consultant at Circle Health Group. Circle Health Group is one of the largest private healthcare networks in the UK offering a range of gynaecological treatments.

Painful Bowel Movements

Endometriosis can cause the bowel and the vagina to become attached, which results in painful bowel movements. This will most commonly occur when you are on your period; however, it can happen at other times throughout the month. Painful bowel movements and other pain in the bowels can also be caused by endometriotic cysts that put pressure on the bowel.

Pain During Sex

If you are experiencing pain during sex for seemingly no reason, it is important to take your concerns to a doctor or gynaecologist and get checked out for endometriosis. Endometriosis can lead to large cysts developing in the ovaries or vagina, which can cause pain during sexual intercourse.

Back Pain

In some cases, endometriosis can spread to the uterosacral ligaments, which can cause back pain. Back pain caused by endometriosis may worsen when you are on your period and is more likely to be felt in the lower or middle of the back.

Urinary Symptoms

Endometriosis may also affect the bladder. This can lead to symptoms such as bladder pain and difficulty holding urine. In some rarer cases, endometriosis might lead to blood in your urine if the endometriosis has spread to the wall of the bladder.

Shooting Pain in the Rectum

A shooting pain in the rectum is a common symptom of rectovaginal or bowel endometriosis. It is caused by growths and cysts that develop around the rectovaginal zone and the uterosacral ligament. It may cause rectal bleeding during periods, which follows the same cycle as the period and produces darker blood similar to menstruation.

What Causes Endometriosis?

The cause of endometriosis is currently unknown. There is a theory that endometrial tissue is deposited in unusual locations by retrograde menstruation through the fallopian tubes into abdominal and pelvic cavities, but the cause of this is not completely understood. However, this is not considered to be the only cause of endometriosis since many women with retrograde menstruation do not have it. Another theory is that the areas that line the pelvic organics possess primitive cells that may develop into endometrium tissue. There is also some evidence that some women who have endometriosis have an altered immune response, which may have an impact on the body’s ability to recognise ectopic endometrial tissue.

How is Endometriosis Diagnosed?

Endometriosis is typically diagnosed and treated by a gynaecologist. This condition may be suspected based on symptoms of pelvic pains and the result of physical examinations. It is commonly diagnosed from a rectovaginal exam, where the gynaecologist will feel for nodules or endometrial implants behind the uterus and with the ligaments that attach to the pelvic wall. If no nodules are detected, endometriosis might be diagnosed if the exam causes unusual discomfort or pain. A tissue biopsy of any implants may also be necessary for an accurate diagnosis. It may also be diagnosed with a surgical procedure known as laparoscopy, which is a minor procedure performed under general or local anaesthetic.
Endometriosis is a condition that causes tissue similar to that which lines the womb to grow in places where it shouldn’t. If you are suffering with any of the above symptoms, a gynaecologist can help.